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HOUSE, "the briars," 











The writer of the following pages trusts 
she will not be thought presumptuous in 
presenting them to the public. Thrown at 
a very early age into the society of Na- 
poleon, and of those who composed his 
suite, she considers it an almost imperative 
duty to communicate any fact or impres- 
sion, which, though uninteresting in itself, 
may still be worth recording as relating to 
him, and as serving to elucidate his cha- 
racter. Could these recollections of the 
emperor have been published without hav- 
ing her name appended to them, they would 
long ago have appeared, but feeling that 
the sole merit to which they could lay 
claim consisted in their being faithful 
records of him, and that if produced 

A 2 


anonymously, there would be no guarantee 
for their truth ; bemg moreover desirous 
to shun publicity, and unequal to the task 
of authorship, the undertaking has been 
postponed from time to time, and, perhaps, 
would have been delayed still longer, but 
for the pressure of calamitous circum- 
stances, which compels her to hesitate no 
more, but, with all their imperfections on 
their head, to send these pages at once 
into the world. 

The authoress may compare her feel- 
ings, as she launches her little vessel on 
the waters, to those of Shelley, when, hav- 
ing exhausted his whole stock of paper, he 
twisted a bank-note into the shape of a 
little boat, and then committing it to the 
stream, waited on the other side for its 
arrival with intense anxiety. Her ship- 
building powers, she fears, are as feeble, 
her materials as frail ; but she has seen the 
little Paper Nautilus floating with impu- 
nitv and confidence on the bosom of that 


mighty ocean, which has engulfed many a 
noble vessel : accepting the augury, she in- 
trusts her tiny bark to the waves of pub- 
lic opinion, not with confidence, however, 
but with timidity and hesitation, — yet is 
her solicitude not altogether unenlivened 
by the hope that it may reach its haven, 
if wafted by friendly breezes and favoured 
by propitious skies. 

The writer must crave indulgence for 
the frequent mention of herself during the 
narrative. The nature of the subject ren- 
ders this unavoidable. 





A slight Description of the Island. — Its Appear- 
ance from the Sea. — Consternation at its threat- 
ening Aspect. — Singular Position of St. James 
Town. — The Briars ... . . 1 


Alarm from Ladder Hill. — Ship in Sight. — News 
of the expected Arrival of Napoleon. — Our dis- 
belief of the Report, and my childish Fears. — The 
Arrival of Sir George Cockburn, on Board the 
Northumberland, with his illustrious Prisoner 
Napoleon Bonaparte. — The Emperor's Landing, 
and Annoyance at being stared at . . .10 


View of the Cavalcade going and returning from 
Longwood the Day after Napoleon's Landing at 
St. Helena. — The Emperor's Admiration of the 
Briars. — Takes up his Residence amongst us. — 
Description of his Manner, Person, &c. — Ques- 
tions me in Geography. — His Opinion of English 
Music . . . . . . . .16' 




Napoleon's Habits during his Stay at the Briars. 
— Miss Legg, her Terror of the Emperor. — Na- 
poleon attacked by a Cow. — The Room occupied 
by him. — His simple Mode of Living. — Cari- 
cature of a Frenchman. — My Indignation at 
being quizzed about Count Las Cases' Son . 28 


Napoleon's Condescension in entering into and 
promoting the Amusements of Children. — His 
beautiful Hand. — Anecdote of the Sword. — Mi- 
niatures of the King of Rome and other Branches 
of the Emperor's Family. — The Game at Whist. 
->The Ball Dress 39 


The Emperor's favourite Retreat in the Briars' 
Garden. — The Malay Slave. — Napoleon's ge- 
neral Information and versatility of Conversation. 
— Consternation of Captain Poppleton at the 
supposed Escape of his Prisoner, on his first 
Riding Excursion after Napoleon left the Briars 53 


The Sevres China. — Napoleon displaying and 
explaining its Devices. — His Good Nature in 
forwarding the Amusements of Children. — The 
Mice. — Blindman's BuiF . . . .67 




Our first Dinner with the Emperor. — The 
Creams. — New Year's Day; Present from 
the Emperor. — General Gourgaiid's Sketch of 

Miss . — Napoleon's Opinion of the Empress 

Josephine. — Account of Count Pioutkowski. — 
The Emperor's Ideas of Englishmen's Devotion 
to Wine, and Badinage in accusing my Country- 
women of the same Propensity . . .76 


The Rage of the Emperor on being told he was 
to leave the Briars for Longwood. — His Horror 
of the Smell of Paint. — Our Sorrow at his De- 
parture. — His Present to my Mother and myself. 
— Our impression of his Character, &c. . . 89 


Our first Visit to Napoleon at Longwood. — De- 
scription of it. — His Pleasure at seeing us. — 
Anecdote of the Marquis De M . — Napo- 
leon's animated Account of Sir W. D.'s Hospi- 
tality and the Beauty of " Fairy Land," &c. . 96 


Deadwood Races. — Mameluke. — Fete at Ross 
Cottage. — Napoleon's attempt at Singing. — Visit 



to Madame Bertrand's. — The Emperor's English. 
— Plantation House. — Napoleon's Method of 
fighting over again his Battles . . .111 


Ball at Deadwood. — Napoleon's Criticisms on 
Dress. — His Dislike to the Custom of sitting 
late after Dinner, — Drive to Dead wood Ball. — 
Lord Amherst. — The Dejeune on Board the 
Newcastle. — The Extraction of the Emperor's 
first Tooth. — His Horror of plain Women . 121 


Anecdote of Lieut. C . — Journey up Peak 

Hill — Napoleon upon Elementary Chemistry. — 
Capt. Wallis. — The Emperor's New Year's 
Gift. — Napoleon's Solicitude about Capt. Mey- 
nell's Health 137 


Anecdote of the Hon. G. C . — Conversation 

with Napoleon on Religious Subjects. — Instances 
of Priestcraft recounted by the Emperor. — 
Translation of Dr. Warden's Book. — The Earth- 
quake. — Napoleon's Admiration of the Character 
of the Governor's Lady, Mrs. Wilks . .152 


The Legend of Friar's Valley. — Bust of the 



young King of Rome. — The Emperor's Emotion 
on shewing it. — Eshihition of some Toys sent hy 
Lady Holland to Madame Bertrand's Children, 
&c. &c 168 


Arrival of " the Conqueror." — Napoleon's Abuse 
of the Island. — Nauseous Bon-bons presented 
by my Brother to the Emperor, &c. &c. — His 
first serious Illness at St. Helena . . .178 


Sir George Cockburn's Newfoundland Dog. — 
Fatal Accident to a Soldier of the Fifty-third 
Regiment. — The Runaway Slave. — Exhibition 
of a Caricature, and consequent Pmiishment to 
me 194. 


Napoleon's Talent for Mimicry. — His Retired 
Walk, planned by Himself. — Cardinal Richelieu, 
&c. — The Pic-Nic. — Nocturnal Adventure, &c. 208 


My Questions to the Emperor respecting the 
Atrocities imputed to him at Jaffa. — The Song 
upon the Death of the Duke D'Enghein. — 
Napoleon's Remarks upon it. — The Sculptor .217 




Our Farewell Visit to the Emperor. — Embarka- 
tion for England ...... 228 

Concluding Chapter 232 


The Briars . 


View of St. Helena 

. to face page 4 

Longwood . 

. 92 

" Fairy Land " . . . 

. 108 

Friar's Valley 

. 172 

St. James Town . 

. 230 






There points the Muse to stranger's eye, 
The graves of those that cannot die. 


My object in the following Memoir is to 
confine myself, as far as possible, to what 
concerns Napoleon personally. Having, 
however, many reminiscences, unconnected 
with him, of the happy clays of my child- 
hood, and feeling that they might be in- 
teresting to the public, especially to those 
who visited the island during the emperor's 



captivity there, I venture to insert them. A 
slight description of the locaUties connected 
with Napoleon will not, I trust, be con- 
sidered uninteresting to my readers, and 
I may, perhaps, commence this slight me- 
moir most properly, by a few remarks upon 
the general aspect of St. Helena, and of 
the impression conveyed by it, on first ap- 
proaching its shores. 

The appearance of St. Helena, on viewing 
it from the sea, is different from that of any 
land I ever saw, and is certainly but little 
calculated to make one fall in love with it 
at first sight. The rock, rising abruptly 
from the ocean, with its oblong shape and 
perpendicular sides, suggests to one's mind 
more the idea of a huge dark-coloured ark 
lying at anchor, floating on the bosom of 
the Atlantic, than of a land intended for 
the habitation and support of living beings; 
nor, on a nearer acquaintance, does its cha- 
racter become more amiable. If a stranger 
approach it during the night, the effect on 


coming on deck in the morning is most 
peculiar, and at first, almost alarming. 
From the great depth of water, ships are 
able to run very close in, to the land ; and 
the eye, long accustomed to the expanse 
of sea and atmosphere, is suddenly startled 
by coming almost, as it seems, in contact 
with the dark threatening rock towering 
hundreds of feet into the air, far above the 
masts of the tallest vessel. 

I was quite a child at the time of my 
first visit, and my terrors were increased 
by being told that the giant-snouted crag, 
which bore some resemblance to the head 
of a negro, when the breakfast bell struck, 
would devour me first, and afterwards the 
rest of the passengers and crew. I rushed 
instantly below, and hiding my face on my 
mother's lap, tremblingly announced our 
fate. It was not without much difficulty 
that she succeeded in soothing my ter- 
rors, by assurances of safety and protec- 
tion. But I did not venture from under 

B 2 


her wing until the dreaded "eight bells" 
had sounded, and the appearance of break- 
fast announced better things in store for 
us. I was told that even the mighty heart 
of Napoleon sank mthin him, when he 
first surveyed his future home ; and as the 
Northumberland glided to her anchorage, 
revealing the galleries of the batteries on 
either side, bristling with cannon, and 
frowning heaAdly upon him ; the despairing 
inscription which the beautiful language 
of his infancy had rendered familiar to him, 
seemed to have been inscribed on the 
gloomy rock : — 

" Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch'entrate." 
On rounding INIunden's battery, James 
Town breaks upon the view. It is singu- 
lar and striking, and quite in harmony 
with the rest of the peculiar scenery of 
St. Helena. The houses are all built at 
the bottom of a wide ravine, which looks 
as if it had been caused by some great 
convulsion of nature, or as if the rock. 




tired of its solitary, life and isolated situa- 
tion in the midst of the Atlantic, had given 
a great yawn, and had then been unable to 
close its mouth again. The buildings are 
confined entirely to the bottom of this cleft 
or chasm, as its sides are too precipitous 
to allow of houses being built on them. 
The position of the town renders it suffi- 
ciently hot in summer. The cool sea- 
breeze, so delicious in all tropical climates, 
is almost excluded by the situation of the 
valley, as the inhabitants call James Town, 
and for nine months in the year the heat 
is almost unendurable. 

We were fortunate enough to reside 
out of town, my father possessing a beau- 
tiful little cottage called the Briars, about 
a mile and a quarter from the valley ; a 
spot meriting a slight description, both 
from its intrinsic beauty, and from having 
been the residence of Napoleon during 
the first three months of his exile in St. 


The way to the Briars winds out of the 
town by roads cut in the side of the moun- 
tain. I cannot say I saw much of this 
road or the surrounding scenery, on my 
first journey to our distant abode ; I was 
on that occasion put into a basket, and car- 
ried on a negro's head, who trud^-ed away 
with me very merrily, singing some joyous 
air. Occasionally he put me down to rest, 
and, grinning from ear to ear, asked me if I 
felt comfortable in my little nest. I was 
rather frightened, as this was the first time 
I had seen a black man ; but I soon recon- 
ciled myself to him, and we became great 
friends. He told me, he generally carried 
vegetables into the valley, and appeared 
highly honoured, and proud that a living 
burden should have been confided to his 
care. I was soon deposited in safety at the 
door of the Briars, and bade adieu to my 
sable bearer, who went away quite delighted 
with some little present my father gave 
him for making himself so amiable to me. 


Our cottage was built in the style of the 
bungalows in India ; it was very low, the 
rooms being chiefly on one floor, and, had 
it not been for its situation, would not have 
been thought so pretty ; but surrounded, as 
this verdant spot was, by barren mountains, 
it looked a perfect little paradise — an Eden 
blooming in the midst of desolation. A 
beautiful avenue of banyan trees led up 
to it, and either side was flanked by 
ever green and gigantic lacos, interspersed 
with pomegranate and myrtle, and a pro- 
fusion of large white roses, much resem- 
bling our sweetbriar, from which, indeed, 
the place derived its name. A walk, 
shaded by pomegranate trees, thirty or 
forty feet in height, conducted to the gar- 

I must plead the same excuse for devot- 
ing a few lines to the garden that I have 
to the cottage, for it was lovely in itself, 
and the favourite retreat of the emperor 
during his sojourn with us. It would re- 


quire the pen of a Scott, or the pencil of a 
Claude, to do any thing like justice to its 
beauty. I often wander in my dreams 
through its myrtle groves, and the orange 
trees, with their bright green leaves, deli- 
cious blossoms, and golden fruit, seem 
again before me, as they were in my blessed 
days of childhood. Every description of 
tropical fruit flourished here luxuriantly ; 
various species of vine, citron, orange, fig, 
shadoc, guava, mango — all in endless pro- 

The produce of this garden alone, which 
the family could not consume, brought 
annually from £500 to £600. Nature, as 
if jealous of the beauty of this enchanting 
spot, had surrounded it on every side with 
impenetrable barriers. On the east, to 
speak geographically, it was bounded by a 
precijDice, so steep as to render all approach 
impracticable. The dark frowning moun- 
tain, called Peak Hill, rendered it inacces- 
sible from the south ; to the westward it 


was protected by a cataract, in itself a 
most picturesque and striking object. I 
forget its height, but its roar was very im- 
posing to me, and the volume of water 
must have been considerable. In that hot 
climate it was a delightful next-door neigh- 
bour; in the most sultry day one could 
hardly feel the heat oppressive, when gaz- 
ing on its cool and sparkling waters. On 
the side nearest the cottage the defences 
of the garden were completed by an aloe 
and prickly pear hedge, through which no 
living thing could penetrate. The garden 
at the Briars, like the bright dreams and 
hopes of my own early youth, is now with- 
ered and destroyed : it was sold to the 
East India Company, by whom it was dug 
up, and planted with mulberry trees, which 
speedily became " food for worms," if I 
may be guilty of a conceit on — to me — a 
melancholy subject. I believe the intended 
speculation proved unsuccessful. 

B 3 



Nay, then farewell ! 
I 've touched the highest point of all my greatness, 
And from that full meridian of my glory 
I haste now to my setting. I shall fall 
Like a bright exhalation in the evening. 
And no man see me more. 




We had been living for years in this ro- 
mantic and secluded glen, when our little 
" isle was suddenly frighted from its pro- 
priety^'' by hearing that Napoleon Bonaparte 
was to be confined as a prisoner of state. 
It was in October, 1815, that this news first 
burst upon us. We heard one morning an 


alarm gun fired from Ladder Hill, which 
was the signal that a vessel was in sight, oft' 
the island. The same evening, two naval 
officers arrived at the Briars, one of whom 
was announced as Captain D., command- 
ing the Icarus man-of-war. He requested 
to see my father, having inteUigence of im- 
portance to communicate to him. On be- 
ing conducted to him, he informed him that 
Napoleon Bonaparte was on board the 
Northumberland, under the command of 
Sir George Cockburn, and within a few 
days' sail of the island. The news of his 
escape from Elba, and the subsequent 
eventful campaign had, of course, not 
reached us, and I remember well how 
amazed and incredulous they all seemed 
to be at the information. Captain D. was 
oblio-ed more than once to assure them of 


the correctness of his statement. My own 
feelinof at the intellio^ence was excessive 
terror, and an undefined conviction that 
something awfiil would happen to us all, 


though of what nature I hardly knew. I 
glanced eagerly at ray father, and seeing 
his countenance calm, I became more com- 
posed, but still I listened to every word of 
Captain D.'s detail as if my fate depended 
on what he was telling us. The earliest 
idea I had of Napoleon was that of a huge 
ogre or giant, with one large flaming red 
eye in the middle of his forehead, and long 
teeth protruding from his mouth, with 
which he tore to pieces and devoured 
naughty little girls, especially those who 
did not know their lessons. I had rather 
grown out of this first opinion of Napoleon; 
but, if less childish, my terror of him was 
still hardly diminished. The name of Bo- 
naparte was still associated, in my mind, 
with every thing that was bad and horrible. 
I had heard the most atrocious crimes im- 
puted to him ; and if I had learned to 
consider him as a human being, I yet still 
believed him to be the worst that had ever 
existed. Nor was I singular in these feel- 


ings; they were participated by many 
much older and wiser than myself; I might 
say, perhaps, by a majority of the English 
nation. Most of the newspapers of the 
day described him as a demon; and all 
those of his own country who lived in Eng- 
land were of course his bitter enemies ; and 
from these two sources alone we formed our 
opinion of him. It was not, therefore, with- 
out uneasiness, that I saw my father depart, 
a dav or two afterwards, to o-o on board the 
vessel which had just cast anchor in the 
bay. The fleet consisted of the Northum- 
berland, commanded by Sir George Cock- 
burn, to whose care Napoleon had been 
confided; the Havannah, Captain Hamilton, 
and several other men-of-war, together with 
transports containing the 53rd regiment. 
We remained many hours in gi-eat anxiety; 
at last my father returned from his visit 
in safety, and we nished out to question 
him as to what had occurred. 

'• Well, papa, have you seen him?" we 


exclaimed, for we thought of no one 
but Napoleon. He told us he had not 
seen the emperor, but had paid his re- 
spects to Sir George Cockburn, and had 
been introduced to Madame Bertrand, 
Madame Montholon, and the rest of Na- 
poleon's suite. He added that General 
Bonaparte would land in the evening, 
and was to remain for the present at the 
house of a Mr. Porteus, until Longwood, 
which was intended for his ultimate resi- 
dence, should be ready for him. We were 
so easrer to see the illustrious exile that we 
determined to go in the evening to the val- 
ley to witness his disembarkation. It was 
nearly dark when we arrived at the landing- 
place, and shortly after, a boat from the 
Northumberland approached, and we saw 
a figure step from it on the shore, which 
we were told was the emperor, but it was 
too dark to distins^uish his features. He 
walked up the lines between the Admiral 
and General Bertrand, and enveloped as 


he was in his surtout, I could see little, but 
the occasional gleam of a diamond star, 
which he wore on his heart. The whole 
population of St. Helena had crowded to 
behold him, and one could hardly have be- 
lieved that it contained so many inhabitants. 
The pressure became so great that it was 
with difficulty way could be made for him, 
and the sentries were at last ordered to 
stand with fixed bayonets at the entrance 
from the lines to the town, to prevent the 
multitude from pouring in. Napoleon was 
excessively provoked at the eagerness of the 
crowd to get a peep at him, more particu- 
larly as he was received in silence though 
with respect. I heard him afterwards say 
how much he had been annoyed at being 
followed and stared at " comme une bete 

We returned to the Briars that night to 
talk and dream of Napoleon. 



Out of the fertile ground he caused to grow- 
All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste. 


Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and 

balm ; 
Others whose fruit burnished with golden rind. 
Hung amiable, — Hesperian fables true. 
If true, here only, — and of delicious taste. — Milton. 





The next morning, we observed a large 
cavalcade moving along the path which 
wound round the mountain, at the base of 
which our dear little cottage was lying, al- 
most hidden in its nest of leaves. The 


eflfect of the party was yery picturesque. 
It consisted of five horsemen, and we watch- 
ed them with great interest, as, following 
the windings of the road, they now gleamed 
in the sun"s rays, and were thrown into 
brilhant rehef by the dark background be- 
hind, and then disappearing, we gazed 
earnestly until, ft-om some turn in the 
road, they flashed again upon us. Some- 
times we only saw a single white phmie, or 
the glitter of a weapon in the sun. To my 
already excited fancy, it suggested the idea 
of an enormous serpent with burnished 
scales, occasionally showing himself as he 
crawled to our little abode. 

We were still doubtful whether Xa- 
poleon were of the party. We had already 
learnt to look for the grey surtout and small 
cocked hat, but no figure in that dress could 
be distinguished, though our spy-glass was 
in anxious requisition. Every one thought 
he would be best able to discover him. At 
last, one of the party exclaimed, "I see a 


figure with a small cocked hat, but no great 
coat;" and then we were at last certain 
that it was the emperor. We concluded 
he was on his way to Longwood, to look 
at his future residence. 

About two o'clock on that day, Mr. 
O'Meara and Dr. Warden called on us, 
and were overwhelmed with all kinds of 
questions about Bonaparte, his manner, ap- 
pearance, &c., &c. They described him as 
most agreeable and pleasing, and assured 
us we should be delighted with him. But 
all their fair words were thrown away upon 
me ; I could think of him only with fear 
and trembling. When leaving us, they 
again repeated that our opinion of Napoleon 
would entirely change when we had once 
seen and conversed with him. 

At four o'clock in the evening, the same 
horsemen whom we had seen in the morning, 
again appeared on their return from Long- 
wood. As soon as they reached the head 
of the narrow pass which led down to the 


Briars, they halted, aud after apparently 
a short deliberation, with terror I saw them 
begin to descend the mountain and ap- 
proach our cottage. I recollect feeling 
so dreadfully frightened, that I wished to 
run and hide myself until they were gone ; 
but mamma desired me to stay, and to re- 
member and speak French as well as I 
could. I had learned that language during 
a visit my father had paid to England some 
years before, and as we had a French ser- 
vant, I had not lost what I had then ac- 

The party arrived at the gate, and there 
being no carriage-road, they all dismounted, 
excepting the emperor, who was now fiilly 
visible. He retained his seat and rode up 
the avenue, his horse's feet cutting up the 
turf on our pretty lawn. Sir George Cock- 
burn walked on one side of his horse, and 
General Bertrand on the other. How vi- 
vidly I recollect my feelings of dread min- 
gled with admiration, as I now first looked 


upon him whom I had learned to fear so 
much. His appearance on horseback was 
noble and imposing. The animal he rode 
was a superb one; his colour jet black; 
and as he proudly stepped up the avenue, 
arching his neck and champing his bit, I 
thought he looked worthy to be the bearer 
of him who was once the ruler of nearly 
the whole European world ! 

Napoleon's position on horseback, by add- 
ing height to his figure, supplied all that 
was wanting to make me think him the 
most majestic person I had ever seen. His 
dress was green, and covered with orders, 
and his saddle and housings were of crimson 
velvet richly embroidered with gold. He 
alighted at our house, and we all moved to 
the entrance to receive him. Sir George 
Cockburn introduced us to him. 

On a nearer approach Napoleon, con- 
trasting, as his shorter figure did, with the 
noble height and aristocratic bearing of Sir 
George Cockburn, lost something of the 


dignity which had so much struck me on 
first seeing him. He was deadly pale, and 
I thought his features, though cold and im- 
movable, and somewhat stern, were exceed- 
ingly beautiful. He seated himself on one 
of our cottage chairs, and after scanning our 
little apartment with his eagle glance, he 
complimented mamma on the pretty situ- 
ation of the Briars. When once he began 
to speak, his fascinating smile and kind 
manner removed every vestige of the fear 
with which I had hitherto regarded him. 

While he was talking to mamma, I had 
a,n opportunity of scrutinizing his features, 
which I did with the keenest interest ; and 
■certainly I have never seen any one with 
so remarkable and striking a physiognomy. 
The portraits of him, give a good general 
idea of his features ; but his smile, and the 
expression of his eye, could not be trans- 
mitted to canvas, and these constituted 
Napoleon's chief charm. His hair was dark 
•brown, and as fine and silky as a child's, 


rather too much so indeed for a man, as its 
very softness caused it to look thin. His teeth 
were even, but rather dark, and I after- 
wards found that this arose from his constant 
habit of eating liquorice, of which he always 
kept a supply in his waistcoat pocket. 

The emperor appeared much pleased with 
the Briars, and expressed a wish to remain 
there. My father had offered Sir George 
Cockburn apartments at the cottage, and 
he immediately assured us of his willing- 
ness to resign them to General Bonaparte, 
as the situation appeared to please him so 
much ; and it was arranged, much appa- 
rently to Napoleon's satisfaction, that he 
should be our guest until his residence at 
Lonsrwood were fit to receive him. 

Our family, at the time of the emperor's 
arrival, consisted of my father, my mother, 
my elder sister, myself, and my two bro- 
thers, who were quite children. Napoleon 
determined on not going down to the town 
again, and wished his rooms to be got ready 


for him immediately. Some chairs were 
then brought out at his request, upon the 
lawn, and seating himself on one, he de- 
sired me to take another, which I did with 
a beating heart. He then said, "You speak 
French :" I replied that I did, and he asked 
me who had taught me. I informed him, 
and he put several questions to me about 
my studies, and more particularly concern- 
ing geography. He inquired the capitals 
of the different countries of Europe. " What 
is the capital of France ?" " Paris." " Of 
Italy ? " " Rome." " Of Russia ? " " Pe- 
tersburg now," I replied ; " Moscow for- 
merly." On my saying this, he turned ab- 
ruptly round, and, fixing his piercing eyes 
full in my face, he demanded sternly, " Qui 
I'a brule ?" When I saw the expression of 
his eye, and heard his changed voice, all 
my former terror of him returned, and I 
was unable to utter a syllable. 

I had often heard the burning of Moscow 
talked of, and had been present at discus- 


sions, as to whether the French or Russians 
were the authors of that dreadful confla- 
gration, I therefore feared to oflfend him by 
alluding to it. He repeated the question, 
and I stammered, " I do not know, sir." 
" Oui, oui," he replied, laughing violently : 
"Vous savez tres bien, 9'est moi qui I'a 
brule." On seeing him laugh, I gained a 
little courage, and said, " I believe, sir, 
the Russians burnt it to get rid of the 
French." He again laughed and seemed 
pleased to find that I knew any thing about 
the matter. 

The arrangements made for him were 
necessarily most hurried; and while we 
were endeavouring to complete them in 
the way we thought most likely to con- 
tribute to his comfort, he amused himself 
by walking about the grounds and garden. 

In the evening he came into the house ; 
and as my father and mother spoke French 
with difficulty, that language being then 
much less studied in England than it is at 


present, he addressed himself again to me, . 
and asked me whether I liked music, add- 
ing, " You are too young to play yourself." 
I felt rather piqued at this, and told him I 
could both sing and play. He then asked 
me to sing, and I sang, as well as I could, 
the Scotch song, " Ye banks and braes." 
When I finished, he said it was the pret- 
tiest English air he had ever heard. I re- 
plied it was a Scottish ballad, not English; 
and he remarked, he thought it too pretty 
to be English : " their music is vile — the 
worst in the world." He then inquired if 
I knew any French songs, and among 
others, " Vive Henri Quatre." I said I 
did not. He began to hum the air, be- 
came abstracted, and, leaving his seat, 
marched round the room, keeping time to 
the song he was singing. When he had 
done, he asked me what I thought of it ; 
and I told him I did not like it at all, for 
I could not make out the air. In fact. Na- 
poleon's voice was most unmusical, nor do 



I think he had any ear for music ; for 
neither on this occasion, nor in any of his 
subsequent attempts at singing, could I 
ever discover what tune it was he was 
executing. He was, nevertheless, a good 
judge of music, if any EngHsh woman may 
say so, after his sweeping denunciation of 
our claims to that science, probably from 
having constantly Hstened to the best per- 
formers. He expressed a great dislike to 
• French music, which, he said, was almost 
as bad as the English, and that the Ita- 
lians were the only people who could pro- 
duce an opera. 

A lady, a friend of ours, who frequently 
visited us at the Briars, was extremely fond 
of Italian singing, which " she loved, in- 
deed, not wisely, but too well," for her 
own attempts in the bravura style were 
the most absurd burlesque imaginable. 
Napoleon, however, constantly asked her 
to sing, and even listened with great po- 
liteness ; but when she was gone, he often 


desired me to imitate her sinoinof, which I 
did as nearly as I could, and it seemed to 
amuse him. He used to shut his eyes and 

pretend he thought it was Mrs. , " our 

departed friend," and then pay me gravely 
the same compliments he would have done 
to her. 

The emperor retired for the night shortly 
after my little attempt to amuse him, and 
thus terminated his first day at the Briars. 

c 2 



The spicy myrtle, with unwithering leaf, 
Shines there and flourishes, the golden boast 
Of Portugal and Western India. There 
The ruddier orange and the paler lime 
Peep through their polished foliage. 






It is not in my power to give a detailed 
account of tlie events of each day the em- 
peror spent with us. I shall never cease 
regretting that I did not keep a journal of 
all that occurred, but I was too young and 
too thoughtless to see the advantage of 
doing so ; besides, I trusted to a memory 


naturally most retentive, thinking it would 
enable me at any time to recall the mi- 
nutest incident concerning Napoleon. In 
this I have deceived myself. My life has 
been a chequered and a melancholy one, 
and many of its incidents have been of a 
nature to absorb the mind and abstract the 
attention from every thing but the consider- 
ation of present misery. This, continued 
for a length of time, has erased things 
from my recollection which I thought I 
never could have forgotten, but of which 
I now retain nothing but the consciousness 
that they took place, and the regret that I 
am unable to record them. 

Many of the circumstances I am about 
to relate, however, I did write down shortly 
after they occurred, and the others have 
been kept fresh in my memory by being 
repeated to friends ; so that the reader of 
my little volume may depend on the abso- 
lute truth and fidelity of my narrative, a 
consideration, indeed, to which I have 


thought it right to sacrifice many others. 
I do not, then, profess to give a journal of 
M-liat Napoleon daily said and did at the 
Briars ; but the occurrences related I 
have inserted as nearly as possible in the 
order in which they took place. 

The emperor's habits, during the time 
he stayed with us, were very simple and 
regular. His usual hour for getting up 
was eight, and he seldom took any thing 
but a cup of coffee until one, when he 
breakfasted, or rather lunched; he dined 
at nine, and retired about eleven to his 
own rooms. His manner was so unaf- 
fectedly kind and amiable, that in a few 
days I felt perfectly at ease in his society, 
and looked upon him more as a companion 
of my own age, than as the mighty warrior 
at whose name "the world grew pale." 
His spirits were very good, and he was at 
times almost boyish in his love of mirth 
and glee, not unmixed sometimes with a 
tinge of malice. 


Shortly after his arrival, a little girl, 
Miss Legg, the daughter of a friend, came 
to visit us at the Briars. The poor child 
had heard such terrific stories of Bona- 
parte, that when I told her he was coming 
up the lawn, she clung to me in an agony 
of terror. Forgetting my own former 
fears, I was cruel enough to run out and 
tell Napoleon of the child's fright, begging 
him to come into the house. He walked 
up to her, and, brushing up his hair with 
his hand, shook his head, making horrible 
faces, and giving a sort of savage howl. 
The little girl screamed so violently, that 
mamma was afraid she would go into hys- 
terics, and took her out of the room. 
Napoleon laughed a good deal at the idea 
of his being such a bugbear, and would 
hardly believe me when I told him that I 
had stood in the same dismay of him. 
When I made this confession,' he tried to 
frighten me as he had poor little Miss 
Legg, by brushing up his hair, and distort- 


iug his features ; but he looked more gro- 
tesque than horrible, and I only laughed 
at him. He then (as a last resource) tried 
the howl, but was equally unsuccessful, 
and seemed, I thought, a little provoked 
that he could not frighten me. He said 
the howl was Cossack, and it certainly was 
barbarous enough for any thing. 

He took a good deal of exercise at this 
period, and was fond of taking exploring 
walks in the valley and adjacent mountain. 
One evening he strolled out, accompanied 
by General Gourgaud, my sister, and my- 
self, into a meadow in which some cows 
were grazing. One of these, the moment 
she saw our party, put her head down and 
(I believe) her tail up, and advanced a 
pas de charge against the emperor. He 
made a skilful and rapid retreat, and leap- 
ing nimbly over a wall, placed this rampart 
between himself and the enemy. But 
General Gourgaud valiantly stood his 
ground, and, drawing his sword, threw 


himself between his sovereign and the 
cow, exclaiming, " This is the second time 
I have saved the emperor's life." Napo- 
leon laughed heartily when he heard the 
General's boast, and said, " He ought to 
have put himself in the position to repel 
cavalry." I told him the cow appeared 
tranquillized, and stopped the moment he 
disappeared, and he continued to laugh, 
and said, " She wished to save the English 
government the expense and trouble of 
keeping him." 

The emperor, during his residence under 
my father's roof, occupied only one room 
and a marquee ; the room was one my 
father had built for a ball-room. There 
was a small lawn in front, railed round, 
and in this railing the marquee was 
pitched, connected with the house by a 
covered way. The marquee was divided 
into two compartments, the inner one. 
forming Napoleon's bedroom, and at one 

c 3 


extremity of the external compartment 
there was a small tent bed, with green 
silk hangings, on which General Gourgaud 
slept. It was the bedstead used by the 
emperor in all his campaigns. Between 
the two divisions of the tent was a crown, 
which his devoted servants had carved out 
of the turf floor, and it was so placed, 
that the emperor could not pass through, 
without placing his foot on this emblem of 
royal dignity. 

Napoleon seemed to have no 'penchant 
for the pleasures of the table. He lived 
very simply, and cared little or nothing 
about what he ate. He dined at nine, 
and at that hour Cipriani, the maitre d'ho- 
tel, made his appearance, and with a pro- 
found reverence said, in a solemn tone, 
" Le diner de votre Majeste est servi." 
He then retreated backwards, followed 
by Napoleon and those of his suite who 
were to dine with him. When he had 


finished, lie would abruptly push away his 
chair from the table, and quit the dining- 
room, apparently glad it was over. 

A few days after his arrival, he invited 
my sister and myself to dine with him, 
and began quizzing the English for their 
fondness for rosbif and plum pudding. I 
accused the French, in return, of living on 
frogs ; and, running into the house, I 
brought him a caricature of a long, lean 
Frenchman, Avith his mouth open, his 
tongue out, and a frog on the tip of it, 
ready to jump down his throat : under- 
neath was written, " A Frenchman's din- 
ner !" He laughed at my impertinence, 
and pinched my ear, as he often did when 
he was amused, and sometimes when a 
little provoked at my " espieglerie.'''' 

" Le petit Las Cases," as he called Count 
Las Cases' son, formed one of the party 
on that day. He was then a lad of four- 
teen, and the emperor was fond of quiz- 
zing me about him, and telling me I should 


be his wife. Nothing enraged me so 
much ; I could not bear to be considered 
such a child, and particularly at that mo- 
ment, for there was a ball in prospect, to 
which I had great hopes papa would allow 
me to go, and I knew that his objection 
would be founded on my being too young. 
Napoleon, seeing my annoyance, desired 
young Las Cases to kiss me, and he held 
both my hands whilst the little page sa- 
luted me. I did all in my power to escape, 
but in vain. The moment, however, that 
my hands were at liberty, I boxed le petit 
Las Cases' ears most thoroughly. But I 
determined to be revenged on Napoleon, 
and in descending to the cottage to play 
whist, an opportunity presented itself which 
I did not allow to escape. There was no 
internal communication between the part 
occupied by the emperor and the rest of the 
house, and the path leading down was very 
steep and very narrow. There being barely 
room for one person to pass at a time, 


Napoleon walked first, Las Cases next, 
then his son, and, lastly, my sister Jane. 
I allowed the party to proceed very quietly 
until I was left about ten yards behind; 
and then I ran with all my force on my 
sister Jane, — she fell with extended hands 
on the little page, he was thrown upon his 
father, and the grand chamberlain, to his 
dismay, was pushed against the emperor, 
who, although the shock was somewhat di- 
minished by the time it reached him, had 
still some difficulty, from the steepness of 
the path, in preserving his footing. I was 
in ecstacies at the confusion I had created, 
and exulted in the revenge I had taken 
for the kiss ; but I was soon obliged to 
change my note of triumph. Las Cases 
was thunderstruck at the insult offered to 
the emperor, and became perfectly furious 
at my uncontrollable laughter. He seized 
me by the shoulders, and pushed me vio- 
lently on the rocky bank. It was now my 
turn to be enraged. I burst into tears of 


passion, and, turning to Napoleon, cried 
out, " Oh ! sir, he has hurt me." " Never 
mind," replied the emperor, " ne pleurs pas 
— I will hold him while you punish him." 
And a good punishing he got ; I boxed 
the little man's ears until he begged for 
mercy; but I would show him none; and 
at length Napoleon let him go, telling him 
to run, and that if he could not run faster 
than I, he deserved to be beaten again. He 
immediately started off as fast as he could, 
and I after him, Napoleon clapping his 
hands and laughing immoderately at our 
race round the lawn. Las Cases never 
liked me after this adventure, and used to 
call me a rude hoyden. 



that those lips had language ! Life has pass'd 
With me hut roughly since I heard thee last. 
Those lips are tliine. Thy own sweet smile I see. 







I NEVER met with any one who bore childish 
liberties so well as Napoleon. He seemed 
to enter into every sort of mirth or fun 
with the glee of a child, and though I have 
often tried his patience severely, I never 
knew him lose his temper or fall back upon 
his rank or age, to shield himself from the 
consequences of his own familiarity, or of his 
indulgence to me. I looked upon him, in- 


deed, when with him, almost as a brother 
or companion of my own age, and all the 
cautions I received, and my own resolu- 
tions to treat him with more respect and 
formality, were put to flight the moment 
I came within the influence of his arch 
smile and laugh. If I approached him 
more gravely than usual, and with a more 
sedate step and subdued tone, he would, 
perhaps, begin by saying, " Eh bien, qu'as 
tu. Mademoiselle Betsee? Has le petit Las 
Cases proved inconstant? If he have, — bring 
him to me ;" or some other playful speech, 
which either pleased or teased me, and 
made me at once forget all my previous 
determinations to behave prettily. 

My brothers were at this time quite 
children, and Napoleon used to allow them 
to sit on his knee and amuse themselves by 
playing with his orders, &c. More than 
once he has desired me to cut them off to 
please them. One day Alexander took up 
a pack of cards, on which was the usual 


figure of the Great Mogul. The child 
held it up to Napoleon, saying, " See, Bony, 
this is you." He did not understand what 
my brother meant by calling him Bony. 
I explained that it was an abbreviation — 
the short for Bonaparte, but Las Cases inter- 
preted the word literally, and said it meant 
a bony person. Napoleon laughed and 
said,. " Je ne suis pas osseux," which he 
certainly never could have been, even in 
his thinnest days. His hand was the fattest 
and prettiest in the world ; his knuckles 
dimpled like those of a baby, his fingers 
taper and beautifully formed, and his nails 
perfect. I have often admired its symme- 
try, and once told him it did not look large 
and strong enough to wield a sword. This 
led to the subject of swords, and one of the 
emperor's suite who was present, drew his 
sabre from the scabbard, and pointing to 
some stains on the blade, said, that it was 
the blood of Englishmen. The emperor 
desired him to sheath it, telling him it was 


bad taste to boast, particularly before la- 

Napoleon then produced from a richly 
embossed case, the most magnificent sword 
I ever beheld. The sheath was composed 
of an entire piece of most splendidly marked 
toi'toise-shell, thickly studded with golden 
bees. The handle, not unlike a fleur-de-lys 
in shape, was of exquisitely wrought gold. 
It was indeed the most costly and elegant 
weapon I had ever seen. I requested Na- 
poleon to allow me to examine it more 
closely; and then a circumstance which 
had occurred in the morning, in which I 
bad been much piqued at the emperor's 
conduct, flashed across me. The tempta- 
tion was irresistible, and I determined to 
punish him for what he had done. I drew 
the blade out quickly from the scabbard, 
and began to flourish it over his head, 
making passes at him, the emperor retreat- 
ing, until at last I fairly pinned him up in 
the corner ; I kept telling him all the time 


that he had better say his prayers, for I 
was going to kill him. My exulting cries 
at last brought my sister to Napoleon's as- 
sistance. She scolded me violently, and 
said she would inform my father if I did 
not instantly desist ; but I only laughed at 
her, and maintained my post, keeping the 
emperor at bay until my arm dropped from 
sheer exhaustion. I can fancy I see the 
figure of the grand chamberlain now, with 
his spare form and parchment visage, glow- 
ing with fear for the emperor's safety, and 
indignation at the insult I was offering him. 
He looked as if he could have annihilated 
me on the spot, but he had felt the weight 
of my hand before on his ears, and pru- 
dence dictated to him to let me alone. 

When I resigned my sword, Napoleon took 
hold of my ear, which had been bored only 
the day before, and pinched it, giving me 
great pain. I called out, and he then took 
hold of my nose, which he pulled heartily, 


but quite in fun ; his good humour never 
left him during the whole scene. 

The following was the circumstance 
which had excited my ire in the morning. 
My father was very strict in enforcing our 
doing a French translation every day, and 
Napoleon would often condescend to look 
over them and correct their faults. One 
morning I felt more than usually averse to 
performing this task, and when Napoleon 
arrived at the cottage, and asked whether 
the translation was ready for him, I had 
not even begun it. When he saw this, he 
took up the paper and walked down the 
lawn with it to my father, who was prepar- 
ing to mount his horse to ride to the val- 
ley, exclaiming as he approached, " Bal- 
combe, voil^ le theme de Mademoiselle 
Betsee. Qu'elle a bien travaille ;" holding 
up at the same time the blank sheet of 
paper. My father comprehended imper- 
fectly, but saw by the sheet of paper, and 


my name being mentioned by the laughing 
emperor, that he wished me to be scolded, 
and entering into the plot, he pretended to 
be very angry, and threatened if I did not 
finish my translation before he returned to 
dinner, I should be severely punished. He 
then rode off, and Napoleon left me, laugh- 
ing at my sullen and mortified air, and it 
was the recollection of this which made me 
try and frighten him with the sword. 

The emperor in the course of the even- 
ing desired a quantity of bijouterie to be 
brought down to amuse us ; and amongst 
other things the miniatures of the young 
king of Rome. He seemed gratified and 
delighted when we expressed our admira- 
tion of them. He possessed a great many 
portraits of young Napoleon. One of them 
represented him sleeping in his cradle, 
which was in the form of a helmet of 
Mars ; the banner of France waved over his 
head, and his tiny right hand supported a 
small globe. I asked the meaning of these 


emblems, and Napoleon said he was to be 
a great warrior, and the globe in his hand 
signified that he was to rule the world. An- 
other miniatm'e, on a snuff-box, represented 
the little fellow on his knees before a cru- 
cifix, his hands clasped and his eyes raised 
to heaven. Underneath were these words : 
" Je prie le bon Dieu pour mon pere, ma 
mere, et ma patrie." It was an exquisite 
thing. Another portrayed him with two 
lambs, on one of which he was riding, while 
the other he was decking out with ribbons. 
The emperor told us these lambs were pre- 
sented to his son by the inhabitants of 
Paris. An unwarlike emblem, and per- 
haps intended as a delicate hint to the em- 
peror to make him a more peaceable citi- 
zen than his papa. The paschal lamb, how- 
ever, is, I believe, the badge on the colours 
of a distinguished English regiment, and 
perhaps may be intended to remind the 
soldier' that gentleness and mercy are not 
inconsistent with the fiercer and more lion- 


like attributes of his profession. We next 
saw another drawing, in which the emjDress 
Maria Louisa and her son were represented, 
surrounded by a sort of halo of roses and 
clouds, which I did not admire quite so 
much as some of the others. Napoleon 
then said he was going to show us the por- 
trait of the most beautiful woman in the 
world, and produced an exquisite miniature 
of his sister Pauline. Certainly I never 
saw any thing so perfectly lovely. I could 
not keep my eyes from it, and told him 
how enchanted I was with it. He seemed 
pleased with my praises, and said it was a 
proof of taste, for she was perhaps one of 
the most lovely women that exer existed. 

The emperor usually played cards every 
evening, and when we were tired of look- 
ing at the miniatures, &c., he said, " Now 
we will go to the cottage and play whist." 
We all walked down together. Our little 
whist table was soon formed, but the cards 
did not run smoothly, and Napoleon desired 


Las Cases to seat himself at a side table, 
and deal them until they dealt easily. 
While the grand chamberlain was thus 
employed, Napoleon asked me what my 
robe de bal was to be. I must mention 
that on my father's refusal to allow me to 
go to the ball, which was to be given hy 
Sir George Cockburn, I had implored the 
emperor's intercession for me. He most 
kindly asked my father to let me go, and 
his request, of course, was instantly acceded 
to. I now ran up stairs to bring my dress 
down to him. It was the first ball dress I 
had ever possessed, and I was not a little 
proud of it. He said it was very pretty ; 
and the cards being now ready I placed it 
on the sofa, and sat down to play. Napo- 
leon and my sister were partners, and Las 
Cases fell to my lot. We had always 
hitherto played for sugar-plums, but to- 
night Napoleon said, *' Mademoiselle Betsee, 
I will bet you a Napoleon on the game." 
I had had a pagoda presented to me, which 


made up the sum of all my worldly riches, 
and I said I would bet him that against 
his Napoleon. The emperor agreed to this, 
and we commenced playing. He seemed 
determined to terminate this day of espie- 
glerie as he had begun it. Peeping under his 
cards as they were dealt to him, he endea- 
voured whenever he got an important one, 
to draw off my attention, and then slily 
held it up for my sister to see. I soon dis- 
covered this, and calling him to order, told 
him he was cheating, and that if he con- 
tinued to do so, I would not play. At last 
he revoked intentionally, and at the end of 
the game tried to mix the cards together 
to prevent his being discovered, but I 
started up, and seizing hold of his hands, I 
pointed out to him and the others what he 
had done. He laus^hed until the tears ran 
out of his eyes, and declared he had played 
fair, but that I had cheated, and should 
pay him the pagoda ; and M'hen I persisted 
that he had revoked, he said I was me- 



cliante and a cheat ; and catching up my 
ball dress from off the sofa, he ran out of 
the room with it, and up to the pavilion, 
leaving me in terror lest he should crush 
and spoil all my pretty roses. I instantly 
set off in chace of him, but he was too 
quick, and darting through the marquee, 
he reached the inner room and locked him- 
self in. I then commenced a series of the 
most pathetic remonstrances and entreaties, 
both in English and French, to persuade 
him to restore me my frock, but in vain; 
he was inexorable, and I had the mortifi- 
cation of hearing him laugh at what I 
thought the most touching of my appeals. 
I was obliged to return without it. He 
afterwards sent down word he intended to 
keep it, and that I might make up my mind 
not to go to the ball. I lay awake half 
the night, and at last cried myself to sleep, 
hoping he would relent in the morning; 
but the next day wore away, and I saw no 
signs of my pretty frock. I sent several 


entreaties in the course of the day, but 
the answer was that the emperor slept, 
and could not be disturbed. He had given 
these orders to tease me. At last the hour 
arrived for our departure for the valley. 
The horses were brought round, and I saw 
the little black boys ready to start with our 
tin cases, without, alas! my beautiful dress 
being in them. I was in despair, and hesi- 
tated whether I should not go in my plain 
frock, rather than not go at all, when, to my 
great joy, I saw the emperor running down 
the lawn to the gate with my dress. " Here, 
Miss Betsee, I have brought your dress ; I 
hope you are a good girl now, and that you 
will like the ball ; and mind that you dance 
with Gourgaud." General Gourgaud was 
not very handsome, and I had some childish 
feud with him. I was all delight at getting 
back my dress, and still more pleased to 
find my roses were not spoiled. He said he 
had ordered them to be arranged and pulled 
out, in case any might have been crushed 

D 2 


the niglit before. Napoleon walked by the 
side of our horses until he came to the end 
of the bridle-road which led to the Briars. 
He then stopped and remarked on the 
beauty of a house which was situated in 
the valley beneath us, asking to whom it 
belonged, and expressing his intention of 
going down to see it. Las Cases accom- 
panied the emperor down the side of the 
mountain, and we went on to the ball. He 
mentioned the next day how charmed he 
had been with the plan, and that he had 
ridden home on a beautiful little Arab 
pony, belonging to the owner. Major Hodg- 



From the thicket the man-hunter sprung, 
My cries echoed loud through the air ; 

There was fury and wrath on his tongue, 
He was deaf to the voice of despair. 

The Slave. 


The only exception to the emperor's habits 
of regularity when with us was in his hour 
of rising. In the midst of our garden was 
a very large pond of transparent water, full 
of gold and silver fish ; and near this was 
the grapery, formed of trellis-work, quite 
covered with vines of every description 


At the end of the grapery was an arbour, 
round and over v^'hich a treillage of grapes 
clustered in the richest profusion. To 
this spot, which was so sheltered as to be 
cool in the most sultry weather, Napoleon 
was much attached. He would sometimes 
convey his papers there as early as four 
o'clock in the morning, and employ himself 
until breakfast time in writing ; and, when 
tired of his pen, in dictating to Las Cases. 
No one was ever permitted to intrude upon 
him when there, and this little attention 
was ever after gratefully remembered. 

From this prohibition, however, I was 
exempt, at the emperor's own desire. I 
was considered a privileged person. Even 
when he was in the act of dictating a 
sentence to Las Cases he would come 
and answer my call, " Come and unlock 
the garden door," and I was always admit- 
ted and welcomed with a smile. I did 
not abuse this indulgence, and seldom in- 
truded on him when in his retreat I re- 


member, however, one day, a very pretty 
young lady came from the valley to pass 
the morning with us : she was dying to see 
Napoleon, but the heat M'as very oppres- 
sive, and he had retired to his arbour to 
avoid it. I hesitated for some time be- 
tween the fear of disturbing him and dis- 
appointing my friend ; but at last Miss C. 
appeared so mortified at not seeing him, 
that I ran down to the garden and knocked 
at the door. For a long while I received 
no answer; but at length, by dint of 
thumping and calling to the emperor, I 
succeeded in waking him. He had fallen 
asleep in the arbour over his papers. He 
came up to the door, and asked me what I 
wanted. I said, " Let me in, and you 
shall know." He replied, " No ; tell me 
first what it is, and then you shall come 
in." I was then obliged to say I wished 
to introduce a young lady to him. He 
declined seeing her, and desired me to say 
he was unwell. I told him she would be 


dreadfully disappointed, and that she was so 
pretty. " Not like the lady I was obliged 
to say agreeable things to yesterday ? " he 
rejoined. I assured him she was quite a 
different person, being very young and 
handsome. At last I succeeded in getting 
the door opened. As soon as I found it 
unlocked, I ran up to the table where he 
had been writing and snatched up his 
papers. " Now," I said, " for your ill na- 
ture in keeping me so long at the door, I 
shall keep these, and then I shall find out 
all your secrets." He looked a little 
alarmed when he saw the papers in my 
hand, and told me to put them down in- 
stantly ; but I refused, and set off round 
the garden, flourishing my trophies. At 
last he told me, if I did not give them up 
he would not be my friend, and I relin- 
quished them. I then took hold of the 
emperor's hand, for fear he should escape, 
and led him to the house, where we found 
Miss C. I introduced her to Napoleon, 


and he delighted her excessively by his 
compliments on her beauty, &c. When 
she was going away, he walked down the 
lawn ^vith her, and lifted her on to her 
horse. He told me, after she was gone, 
that she was a very pretty girl, but had the 
air of a marchande de modes. 

The golden fruit in this modern garden 
of Hesperides had for its dragon an old 
Malay slave, named Toby, who had been 
captured and brought to the island as a 
slave many years before, and had never 
since crossed its boundary. He was an 
original, and rather an interesting charac- 
ter. A perfect despot in his own domain, 
he never allowed his authority to be dis- 
puted ; and the family stood almost as 
much in awe of him, as they did of the mas- 
ter of the Briars himself. Napoleon took a 
fancy to old Toby, and told papa he wished 
to purchase him, and give him his freedom ; 
but for some political reason it was not 
permitted. The old man retained ever 



afterwards the most grateful sense of Na- 
poleon's kindness, and was never more 
highly gratified than when employed in 
gathering the choicest fruit, and arranging 
the most beautiful bouquets, to be sent to 
Longwood, to " that good man, Bony," as 
he called the emperor. Napoleon made a 
point of inquiring, whenever I saw him, 
after the health of old Toby, and when he 
took his leave of him he presented him 
with twenty Napoleons. 

The emperor was very accessible while 
at the Briars, and knowing how much it 
would delight us, he seemed to wish to 
return any little attentions we were able 
to offer him by courtesy and kindness to 
our friends. My father, one day, during 
his residence with us, invited a large party, 
and the emperor said he would join us in 
the evening. He performed his promise, 
and delighted every one with his urbanity 
and condescension. When any of our 
guests were presented to him, he usually 


inquired his profession, and then turned 
the conversation upon some topic con- 
nected with it. I have often heard won- 
der expressed at the extent of Napoleon's 
information, on matters of which he would 
hardly have been expected to know much. 
On this occasion, a very clever medical 
man, after a long conversation with the 
emperor on the subject of his profession, 
declared his astonishment to my father at 
the knowledge he possessed, and the clear- 
ness and brilliancy with which he reasoned 
on it, though his theories were sometimes 
rather heterodox. Napoleon told him he 
had no faith whatever in medicine, and 
that his own remedies were starvation and 
the warm bath. At the same time he 
professed a higher opinion of the medical, 
or rather surgical profession, than of any 
other. The practice of the law, he said, was 
too severe an ordeal for poor human nature, 
adding, that he Avho habituates himself to 
the distortion of truth, and to exultation at 


the success of injustice, will at last hardly 
know right from "v^Tong ; so it is, he re- 
marked, with politics, a man must have a 
conventional conscience. Of the church, 
also, {les ecclesiastiqiies,) he spoke harshly, 
saying that too much was expected from 
its members, and that they became hypo- 
crites in consequence. As to soldiers, they 
were cut-throats and robbers, and not the 
less so because they were ready to send a 
bullet through your head if you told them 
your opinion of them. But surgeons, he 
said, are neither too good nor too bad. 
Their mission is to benefit mankind, not to 
destroy, mystify, or inflame them against 
each other ; and they have opportunities of 
studying human nature as well as of acquir- 
ing science. The emperor spoke in high 
terms of Lorrey, who, he said, was a man of 
genius and of unimpeachable integrity*. 
On the emperor's first arrival in St. He- 

* The above conversation is from a note of my 


lena, he was fond of taking exploring walks 
in the valley just below our cottage. In 
these short walks he was unattended by 
the officer on guard, and he had thus the 
pleasure of feeling himself free from ob- 
servation. The officer first appointed to 
exercise surveillance over him when at 
Longwood was a Captain Poppleton, of 
the 53rd regiment. It was his duty to at- 
tend him in his rides, and the orders given 
on these occasions were, " that he was not 
to lose sight of Napoleon." The latter 
was one day riding with Generals Ber- 
trand, Montholon, Gourgaud, and the rest 
of his suite, along one of the mountainous 
bridle-paths at St. Helena, with the orderly 
officer in attendance. Suddenly the empe- 
ror turned short round to his left, and spur- 
ring his horse violently, urged him up the 
face of the precipice, making the large 
stones fly from under him down the moun- 
tain, and leaving the orderly officer aghast, 
gazing at him in terror for his safety, and 


doubt as to his intentions. Although 
equally well mounted, none of his Generals 
dared to follow him. Either Captain Pop- 
pleton could not depend on his horse, or 
his horse was unequal to the task of fol- 
lowing Napoleon, and giving it up at once, 
he rode instantly off to Sir George Cock- 
burn, who happened at the time to be 
dining with my father at the Briars. He 
arrived breathless at our house, and, set- 
ting all ceremony aside, demanded to see 
Sir George, on business of the utmost im- 
portance. He was ushered at once into 
the dining-room. The Admiral was in the 
act of discussing his soup, and listened 
with an imperturbable countenance to the 
agitated detail of the occurrence, with 
Captain Poppleton's startling exclamation 
of " Oh ! sir, I have lost the emperor." 
He very quietly advised him to return to 
Longwood, where he would most probably 
find General Buonaparte. This, as he 
prognosticated, was the case, and Napo- 


leon often afterwards laughed at the con- 
sternation he had created. On Captain 
Poppleton's arriving at Longwood he found 
the emperor seated at dinner, and was un- 
mercifully quizzed by him for the want of 
nerve he displayed in not daring to ride 
after him. 

The emperor's vanity was flattered at 
having still the power to create fear, 
though a captive in such a prison as the 
impregnable island of St. Helena. I have 
mentioned being struck with Napoleon's 
seat on horseback on first seeing him. He 
one day asked me whether I thought he 
rode well. I told him, and with the great- 
est truth, that I thought he looked better 
on horseback than any one I had ever seen. 
He appeared pleased, and calling for his 
horse, he mounted and rode several times 
at speed round the lawn, making the ani- 
mal wheel in a very narrow circle, and 
showing the most complete mastery over 


One day, Achambaud, his groom, was 
breaking in a beautiful young Arab, wliich 
had been bought for the emperor's riding. 
The colt was plunging and rearing in the 
most frightful manner, and could not be 
induced to pass a white cloth which had 
been purposely spread on the lawn to 
break him from shying. I told Napoleon 
it was impossible that he could ever ride 
that horse, it was so vicious. He smiled, 
and beckoning to Achambaud, desired him 
to dismount ; and then, to my great terror, 
he himself got on the animal, and soon 
succeeded in making him not only pass the 
cloth, but put his feet upon it ; and then 
rode him over and over it several times. 
Achambaud, as it seemed to me, hardly 
knew whether to laugh or cry. He was 
delighted with his emperor's prowess, but 
mortified at his managing a horse so easily 
which he had been trying in vain to sub- 
due. Napoleon mentioned that he had 
once ridden a favourite grey charger one 


hundred and twenty miles in one day. It 
was to see his mother, who was danger- 
ously ill, and there were no other means 
of reaching her. The poor animal died in 
the course of the night. He said that his 
own power of standing fatigue was im- 
mense, and that he could almost live in 
the saddle. I am afraid to say how many 
hours he told me once he had remained on 
horseback, but I remember being much 
surprised at his powers of endurance. His 
great strength of constitution was probably 
more instrumental than one would imagine, 
at first view, in enabling him to reach the 
pinnacle of his ambition. The state of the 
mind is so dependent on the corporeal 
frame, that it is difficult to see how the 
kind of mental power which is necessary 
to success in war, or political turmoil, can 
exist without a corresponding strength of 
body, or at least of constitution. In how 
many critical periods of Napoleon's life 
would not the illness of a week have been 


fatal to his future schemes of empire ! 
How might the sternness of purpose by 
which he subjugated his daring compeers 
of the revokition have been shaken, and 
his giant ambition thwarted, by a trivial 
sickness ! The mind of even a Napoleon 
might have been prostrated, and his 
mighty will enfeebled, by a few days' fe- 
ver. The successful leader of a revolu- 
tion ought, especially, to be exempt from 
the evils to which flesh is heir ; liis very 
absence from the arena for a few days is 
enough to ruin him ; depreciating reports 
are spread, the prestige vanishes, and he is 
pushed from his stool by some more vigor- 
ous and more fortunate competitor. 



Good humour there, and ga}' good will, 

And each still pleased in pleasing still. — Neele. 

But first he flew, I forgot to say. 

That he hover'd a moment upon his way 

To look upon Leipsic plain. — Byron. 

the sevres china. — napoleon displaying and ex- 
plaining its devices. his good nature in for- 
warding the amusements of children. — the mice. 
— blindman's buff. 

The emperor possessed a splendid set of 
china, of the Sevres manufacture, which had 
been executed at an enormous cost, and pre- 
sented to him by the city of Paris. The 
service was now unpacking, and he sent for 
us to see them. They were painted by the 
first artists in Paris, and were most lovely. 
Each plate cost twenty-five Napoleons. 


The subjects all bore reference to his cam- 
paigns, or to some period of his early life. 
Many of them were battle pieces, in which 
the most striking incidents were portrayed 
-vvith the utmost spirit and fidelity ; others 
were landscapes, representing scenery con- 
nected with his victories and triumphs. 
One, I remember, made a great impression 
on me ; it was a drawing of Napoleon on 
the bridge of Areola — a slim youth, stand- 
ing almost alone, with none near but the 
dead and dying who had fallen around him, 
was cheering on his more distant comrades 
to the assault. The emperor seemed pleased 
at my admiring it, and putting his hand to 
his side, exclaimed, laughing, " I was rather 
more slender then than I am now." The 
battle of Leipsic was one of the subjects 
depicted on the china. Napoleon's figure 
was happily done, and an admirable like- 
ness ; but one feels rather surprised at the 
selection of such a subject for a compli- 
mentary present. I believe the battle of 


Leipsic is considered to have been one of 
the most disastrous defeats on record, but 
probably the good citizens of Paris were 
not so well aware of this at the time the 
china was presented to him as they now 
are. His campaign in Egypt furnished 
subjects for some of the illustrations. The 
ibis was introduced in several of these 
Egyptian scenes, and happening to have 
heard that that bird was worshipped by the 
Egyptians, I asked him if it were not so. 
He smiled, and entered into a long narra- 
tion of some of his adventures with the 
army in Egypt, advising me never to go 
there, as I should catch the ophthalmia and 
spoil my eyes. I had also heard that he 
had professed Mahometanism when there, 
and I had been prompted by some one to 
catechise him on the subject. I at once 
came out with the question in my An- 
glo-French, " Pourquoi avez vous tourne 
Turque." He did not at first understand me, 
and I was obliged to explain that " tourne 


Turque" meant changing his religion. He 
laughed and said, " What is that to you ? 
Fighting is a soldier's religion ; I never 
changed that. The other is the affair of 
women and priests ; quant a moi, I always 
adopt the religion of the country I am in." 
At a later period some Italian ecclesiastics 
arrived at St. Helena and were attached to 
Napoleon's suite. 

Amongst the emperor's domestics at the 
Briars was a very droll character, his lamp- 
lighter, a sort of Leporello, — a little fellow, 
most ingenious in making toys and other 
amusing mechanical contrivances. Napo- 
would often send for the scaramouch to 
amuse my brothers, who were infinitely de- 
lighted with his tricks and buffooneries. 
Sometimes he constructed balloons, which 
were inflated and sent up amidst the ac- 
clamations of the whole party. One day he 
contrived to harness four mice to a small 
carriage, but the poor little animals were 
so terrified that he could not get them to 


move, and after many ineffectual attempts, 
my brothers entreated the emperor to in- 
terfere. Napoleon told them to pinch the 
tails of the two leaders, and when they 
started the others would follow. This he 
did, and immediately the whole four scam- 
pered off, to our great amusement, Napoleon 
enjoying the fun as much as any of us, and 
delighted with the extravagant glee of my 
two brothers. I had often entreated the 
emperor to give a ball (before he left the 
Briars for Longwood) in the large room 
occupied by him, and which had been built 
by my father for that purpose. He had 
promised me faithfully he would, but when 
I pressed him urgently for the fulfilment 
of his word, he only laughed at me, telling 
me he wondered I could be so silly as to 
think such a thing possible. But I never 
ceased reproaching him for his breach of 
faith, and teased him so that at last, to 
escape my importunities, he said that as 
the ball was out of the question, he would 


consent, by way of amende lionorahle^ to 
any thing I chose to demand to console 
me for my disappointment. 

" Dites moi — Que veux-tu que je fasse, 
Mademoiselle Betsee, pour te consoler?" I 
replied instantly, if you will play the game 
of bhndman's buff, that you have so often 
promised me, I will forgive you the ball, 
and never ask for it again. Not knowing 
the French term (if there be any) for blind- 
man's buff, I had explained before to the 
emperor the nature of the operation to be 
gone through. He laughed at my choice, 
and tried to persuade me to choose some- 
thing else, but I was inexorable; and see- 
ing his fate inevitable, he resigned himself 
to it with a good grace, proposing we 
should begin at once. My sister and my- 
self, and the son of General Bertrand, 
and some other of the emperor's suite 
formed the party. Napoleon said we 
should draw lots who should be blind- 
folded first, and he would distribute the 


tickets. Some slips of paper were pre- 
pared, on one of which was Avritten the 
fatal word " la mort," and the rest were 
blanks. Whether accidentally, or by Na- 
poleon's contrivance, I know not, but I was 
the first victim, and the emperor, taking a 
cambric handkerchief out of his pocket, 
tied it tightly over my eyes, asking me, if I 
could see. " I cannot see you," I replied ; but 
a faint gleam of light did certainly escape 
through one corner, making my darkness 
a little less visible. Napoleon then taking 
his hat, waved it suddenly before my eyes, 
and the shadow and the wind it made, start- 
ling me, I drew back my head : " Ah, leetle 
monkee," he exclaimed in English, " you 
can see pretty well." He then proceeded 
to tie another handkerchief over the first, 
which completely excluded every ray of 
light. I was then placed in the middle of 
the room, and the game began. The em- 
peror commenced by creeping stealthily 
up to me, and giving my nose a very sharp 



twinge ; I knew it was he both from the 
act itself and from his footstep. I darted 
forw^ard, and very nearly succeeded in 
catching him, but bounding actively away, 
he eluded my grasp. I then groped about, 
and, advancing again, he this time took 
hold of my ear and pulled it. I stretched 
out my hands instantly, and in the exulta- 
tion of the moment screamed out, " I have 
got you — I have got you, now you shall be 
blindfolded!" but to my mortification it 
proved to be my sister, under cover of 
whom Napoleon had advanced, stretching 
his hand over her head. We then recom- 
menced, the emperor saying that as I had 
named the wrong person, I must continue 
blindfolded. He teased and quizzed me 
about my mistake, and bantered me in 
every possible way, eluding at the same 
time, with the greatest dexterity, all my en- 
deavours to catch him. At last when the 
fun was growing " fast and furious," and 
the uproar was at its height, it w^as an- 


nounced that some one desired an audience 
of the emperor, and to my great annoyance, 
as I had set my heart on catching him and 
insisting on his being blindfolded, our game 
came to a conclusion. 

E 2 



Wear this for me, one out of suits with fortune ; 
That would give more, but that her hand lacks 
means. Shakspeare. 

Master go on, and I will follow thee 
To the last gasp with truth and loyalty. 






The emperor having returned from seeing 
his visitor, and his dinner hour approach- 
ing, he invited us to dine with him. We 
told him -we had already dined. "Then 
come and see me eat," he added, and when 
his dinner was announced by Cipriani, we 


accompanied him to his marquee. When 
at table, he desired Navarre to bring in 
some creams for me. I dechned them, as 
I had dined, but I had, unfortunately, told 
him once before, that I was very fond of 
creams, and though I begged in vain to be 
excused, repeating a thousand times that 
I had dined and could eat no more, he 
pressed and insisted so strongly, that I was 
at last obliged to comply, and with some 
difficulty managed to eat half a cream. 
But although I was satisfied, Napoleon 
was not ; and when I left off eating, he 
commenced feeding me like a baby, calling 
me his little bambina, and laughing vio- 
lently at my woftil countenance. At last 
I could bear it no longer, and scampered 
out of the tent, the emperor calling after 
me, " Stop, Miss Betsee ; do stay and eat 
another cream, you know you told me you 
liked them. The next day he sent in a 
quantity of bon-bons by Marchand, with 
some creams, desiring his compliments to 


Mademoiselle Betsee, and intimating that 
the creams were for her. 

The emperor possessed among his suite 
the most accomplished confiseur in the 
world. M. Piron daily supplied his table 
with the most elaborate, aiid really some- 
times the most elegant designs in patisse- 
rie — spun sugar, and triumphal arches, and 
amber palaces glittering with prismatic 
tints, that looked as if they had been built 
for the queen of the fairies, after her majes- 
ty's own designs. Napoleon often sent us 
in some of the prettiest of these architec- 
tural delicacies, and I shall always conti- 
nue to think the bon-bons from the atelier 
of Monsieur Piron more exquisite than 
any thing I ever tasted. But I suppose I 
must grant, with a sigh, that early youth 
threw its couleur de rose tints over Piron's 
bon-bons, as well as over the more intellec- 
tual joys of that happy period. The em- 
peror sometimes added sugared words, to 
make these sweet things sweeter. 


On New Year's Day a deputation, con- 
sisting of the son of General Bertrand, 
Henri, and Tristram, Madame Montholon's 
little boy, arrived with a selection of hon- 
bons for us, and Napoleon observed that he 
had sent his Cupidons to the Graces. The 
bon-bons were placed in crystal baskets, 
covered with white satin napkins, on Sevres 
plates. The plates I kept till lately, when 
I presented them to a lady who had shewn 
my mother and myself many very kind 
attentions ; and they were some of the 
last presents I possessed of Napoleon's 
many little gifts to me, with the exception 
of a lock of his hair, which I still retain, 
and which might be mistaken for the hair 
of an infant, from its extreme softness and 
silkiness. Napoleon delighted in sending 
these little presents to ladies, and was gene- 
rally courteous and attentive in his demean- 
our towards them. He always gave me the 
impression of being fond of ladies' society, 
and as Mr. O'Meara remarks, when allud- 


ing to my sister and myself, dining one day 
with him, " his conyersation was the per- 
fection of causer ie, and very entertaining." 
He was, perhaps, rather too fond of using 
direct comphments, but this was very par- 
donable in one of his rank and country. 
He remarked once, that he had heard a 
great deal of the beauty and eleg-ance of 
the Governor's daughter, and asked me 
who I thought the most beautiful woman 
in the island. I told him I thought Ma- 
dame Bertrand superior, beyond all compa- 
rison to any one I had ever before seen. 
My father had been greatly struck with her 
majestic appearance on board the North- 
umberland, and I always thought every 
one else sank into insignificance when she 
appeared ; and yet her features were not 
regular, and she had no strict pretensions 
to beauty, but the expression of her face 
was very intellectual, and her bearing 
queen-like and dignified. 

Napoleon asked me if I did not con- 


sider Madame Montholon pretty. I said, 
" No." He then desired Marchand to 
bring down a snuff-box, on the lid of which 
was a miniature of Madame Montholon. 
It certainly was like her, and very beauti- 
ful. He told me it was what she had 
been, when young. He then recurred to 

Miss -, and said Gourgaud spoke in 

raptures of her, and had sketched her por- 
trait from memory. He produced the 
drawing, and wished to know if I thought 
it a good likeness. I told him she was 
infinitely more lovely, and that it bore no 
trace of resemblance to her. I mentioned 
also that she was very clever and amiable. 
Napoleon said I was very enthusiastic in 
her favour, and had made him quite long 
to see her. 

Mesdames Montholon and Bertrand, and 
the rest of his suite, often came to see him 
at the Briars, and remained there during the 
day. It was quite delightful to witness 
the deference and respect with which he 

E 3 


was treated by them all. To them he was 
still " le grand empereur;" his every look 
was watched, and each wish anticipated, as 
if he had still been on the throne of Char- 

On one of these occasions Madame Ber- 
trand produced a miniature of the empress 
Josephine, which she shewed to Napoleon. 
He gazed at it with the greatest emotion 
for a considerable time without speaking. 
At last, he exclaimed it was the most per- 
fect likeness he had ever seen of her, and 
told Madame Bertrand he would keep it, 
which he did, until his death. He has 
often looked at my mother for a length of 
time very earnestly, and then apologized, 
saying that she reminded him so much of 
Josephine. Her memory appeared to be 
idolized by him, and he was never weary 
of dwelling on her sweetness of disposition 
and the gi'ace of her movements. He said 
she was the most truly feminine woman 
he had ever known. In speaking of the 


empress, he used to describe her as very 
subject to nervous affections when in the 
least degree indisposed or anxious ; he often 
said she was the most amiable, elegant, 
charming, and affable woman in the world ; 
and in the language of his native isle, assert- 
ed, " Era la dama la piu graziosa di Fran- 
cia." She was the goddess of the toilet- 
all fashions originated with her, every thing 
she appeared in, seemed elegant, and, more- 
over, she was so humane, and was the best 
of women. Still, with all the veneration 
he felt for her, he could not bear that it 
should be supposed she exercised the sway 
over his public actions attributed to her, 
and observed, "Although the Bourbons and 
English allow that I did some (jood, yet 
they generally qualify it by saying it was 
chiefly through the instrumentality of Jo- 
sephine ; when the fact was, that she^ never 
interfered with politics. In alluding to 
his divorce, he observed, nothing would 


have induced him to listen to such a mea- 
sure but political motives ; no other rea- 
son could have persuaded him to separate 
himself from a wife whom he so tenderly 
loved. But he thanked God she had died 
in time to prevent her witnessing his last 
misfortune. She was the greatest pa- 
troness of the fine arts that had been 
known in France for a series of years ; 
she had frequently little disputes with 
Denon, and even with himself, when she 
wanted to procure fine statues and pic- 
tures for her own gallery instead of the 
Museum. " But though I loved to attend 
to her whims, yet I always acted first to 
please the nation ; and whenever I ob- 
tained a fine statue or valuable picture, I 
sent it there for the people's benefit. Jo- 
sephine was grace personified; every thing 
she did was marked with it. She never 
acted inelegantly during the whole time 
we lived together. Her toilet was perfec- 


tion, and she resisted the inroads of time, 
to all appearance, by the exquisite taste of 
her pm'iire." 

Napoleon afterwards spoke of the em- 
press Marie Louise with great kindness 
and affection. He said she would have 
followed him to St. Helena if she had 
been allowed, and that she was an amiable 
creature, and a very good wife. He pos- 
sessed several portraits of her. They were 
not very attractive, and were seen to dis- 
advantage when contrasted, as they gene- 
rally were, with his own handsome and 
intellectual looking family. 

The emperor retired early this even- 
ing. He had been in low spirits since 
I'eceiving his visitor, and after the por- 
traits of the empress Josephine and Maria 
Louisa had been produced, he appeared 
absorbed in mournful reflection, and was 
still more melancholy and dejected for the 
rest of the evening. 

His visitor proved to be a Count Piout- 


kowski, a Polish officer, who had formerly 
held a commission in "la grande armee," 
and had landed in the morning, having 
with great difficulty obtained permission 
to follow his master into exile, " to share 
with him the vulture and the rock." He 
called at the Briars, and requesting an 
audience, information had been sent to 
the emperor of his arrival. A long inter- 
view took place between them, which 
apparently excited painful reminiscences 
in the mind of the exile. I asked him 
afterwards about his visitor ; he seemed to 
have little personal recollection of him, 
but appeared gratified with his devotion, 
and observed, he had proved himself a 
faithful servant by following him into 

The emperor's English, of which he 
sometimes spoke a few words, was the 
oddest in the world. He had formed an 
exaggerated idea of the quantity of wine 
drunk by English gentlemen, and used 


always to ask me, after we had bad a 
party, how many bottles of wine my father 
drank, and then laughing, and counting on 
his fingers, generally made the number 
five. One day, to annoy me, he said that 
my countrywomen drank gin and brandy ; 
and then added, in English, " You laike 
veree mosh dreenk, Meess, sometimes bran- 
dee, geen." Though I could not help 
laughing at his way of saying this, I felt 
most indignant at the accusation, and as- 
sured him that the ladies of England had 
the utmost horror of drinking spirits, and 
that they were even fastidious in the re- 
finement of their ideas and in their general 
habits. He seemed amused at my earnest- 
ness, and quoted the instance of a INIrs. 

B y, who had, in fact, paid him a visit 

once in a state of intoxication. It was 
singular, indeed, that one of the few Eng- 
lish ladies he had ever been presented to 
should have been addicted to this habit. 
At last he confessed, laughing, that he 


had made the accusation only to tease me. 
When I was going away, he repeated, 
" You like dreenk, Meess Betsee ; dreenk ! 
dreenk !" 



If I should sleep, or eat, 
'Twere deadly sickness, or else present death. 

Sorrow on thee, and all the pack of you, 

That triumph thus upon ni}'^ misery ! 

Go ! get thee gone, I say ! Shakspeare. 



As the time drew near, for Napoleon's re- 
moval from the Briars to Longwood, he 
would come into the drawing-room oftener, 
and stay longer. He would, he said, have 
preferred altogether remaining at the 
Briars ; because he beguiled the hours with 
us better than he ever thought it possible 
he could have done on such a horrible 
rock as St. Helena. 


A day or two before his departure, Ge- 
neral Bert rand came to the Briars and in- 
formed Napoleon that Longwood smelt so 
strongly of paint that it was unfit to go 
into. I shall never forget the fury of the 
emperor. He walked up and down the 
lawn, gesticulating in the wildest manner. 
His rage was so great that it almost choked 
him. He declared that the smell of paint 
was so obnoxious to him that he would 
never inhabit a house where it existed ; 
and that if the grand marshal's report were 
true, he should send down to the admiral, 
and refuse to enter Longwood. He or- 
dered Las Cases to set off early the next 
morning to examine the house and report 
if the information of General Bertrand was 
correct. At this time I went out to him 
on the lawn, and inquired the cause of his 
being in such a rage. The instant I joined 
him he changed his manner, and in a calm 
tone mentioned the reason of his annoy- 
ance. I was perfectly amazed at the power 


of control he evinced over his temper. 
In one moment, from the most awfnl 
state of fury, he subdued his irritabiUty, 
and his manner became calm, gentle, and 
composed. Las Cases set off at dayhght 
the next morning, and returned before 
twelve o'clock. He informed the emperor 
that the smell of paint was so slight as to 
be scarcely perceptible, and that a few hours 
would remove it altogether. The grand 
marshal was sharply reprimanded, as I 
afterwards learned, for making an exag- 
gerated report. It was arranged that he 
should leave the Briars two days after- 
wards for Longwood, which was now quite 
ready for him. 

On the appointed morning, which to me 
was a most melancholy one, Sir George 
Cockburn, accompanied by the emperor's 
suite, came to the Briars, to escort him 
to his new abode. I was crying bitterly, 
and he came up and said, " You must not 
cry, Mademoiselle Betsee ; you must come 


and see me next week, and very often." 
I told him that depended on my father. 
He turned to him and said, " Balcombe, 
you must bring Missee Jane and Betsee 
to see me next week, eh ? When will you 
ride up to Longwood?" My father pro- 
mised he would, and kept his word. He 
asked where mamma was, and I said she 
desired her kind regards to the emperor, 
and regretted not being able to see him 
before his departure, as she was ill in bed. 
" I will go and see her ;" and up stairs he 
darted before we had time to tell my 
mother of his approach. He seated him- 
self on the bed, and expressed his regret 
at hearing she was unwell. He was warm 
in his acknowledgments of her attentions 
to him, and said, he would have preferred 
staying altogether at the Briars, if they 
would have permitted him. He then pre-^ 
sented my mother with a gold snuff-box, 
and begged she would give it to my father 
as a mark of his friendship. He gave me 

.,4uJ^ m ' M 


a beautiful little bonbonniere, which I had 
ofteu admired, and said you can give it as 
a gage (Tamoiir to le petit Las Cases. I 
burst into tears and ran out of the room. 
I stationed myself at a window from which 
I could see his departure, but my heart 
was too full to look on him as he left us, 
and throwing myself on the bed, I cried bit- 
terly for a long time. 

When my father returned, we asked 
him h». w the emperor liked his new resi- 
dence. He said that he appeared out of 
spirits, and, retiring to his dressing-room, 
had shut himself up for the remainder of 
the day. 

From the circumstance that my father 
was the emperor's purveyor, we had a 
general order to visit Longwood, and 
we seldom allowed a week to pass with- 
out seeing him. On these occasions, 
we generally arrived in time to break- 
fast with him at one, and returned in 
the evening. He was more subject to 


depression of S23irits than when at the 
Briars, but still gleams of his former play- 
fulness shone out at times. On one oc- 
casion we found him firing at a mark 
with pistols. He put one into my hand, 
loaded, I believe, with powder, and, in 
great trepidation, I fired it off; he often 
called me afterwards " La petite tirailleure," 
and said he would form a corps of sharp- 
shooters, of which I should be the captain. 
He then went into the house, and he took 
me into the billiard-room, a table having 
been just set up at Longwood. I remember 
thinking it too childish for men, and very 
like marbles on a larger scale. The em- 
peror condescended to teach me how to 
play, but I made very little progress, and 
amused myself with trying to hit his im- 
perial fingers with the ball instead of mak- 
ing cannons and hazards. 

Napoleon's health and activity began to 
decline soon after his arrival at Lonofwood. 
In consequence of the unfortunate dis- 


putes with the governor, Sir Hudson Lowe, 
his health became visibly impaired. He 
was unable, consequently, to enjoy that 
buoyancy of spirit wliich had probably 
been the chief cause of his allowing me 
to be so often in his society, and of his 
distinguishing me with so much regard. 
But he never failed to treat me with the 
greatest tenderness and kindness. 

Some months after his departure I was 
attacked with an alarming illness. Mr. 
O'Meara attended me, and at one time 
despaired of my recovery. The emperor's 
kindness in making inquiries after me, and 
his other attentions, I can never forget. 
He ordered his confiseur, when I became 
convalescent, to supply me daily from his 
own table with every delicacy, to tempt 
my appetite and restore my strength. 



While here shall be our home, what best may ease 

The present misery, and render Hell 

More tolerable ; if there be cm-e or charm 

To respite, or deceive, or slack the pain 

Of this ill mansion. Milton. 

Here I, and sorrow sit, 
Here is mv throne. Shakspeare. 




With the assistance of my daughter's pen- 
cil, and some rough sketches I had by me, 
I have been enabled to give a view of the 
Briars, and the cottage occupied by Napo- 
leon, whilst he stayed with us. He cer- 
tainly appeared very contented during that 
time, and frequently expressed a strong de- 


sire that the government would permit him 
to remain there, by purchasing the estate; 
and on their refusing to do so, he sent 
General Montholon to negociate with my 
father, that he himself might become the 
purchaser of the Briars : but circumstances 
(probably political) prevented the negocia- 
tion from being carried out. Napoleon used 
to watch with great interest the fatigue par- 
ties of the 53rd regiment, as they wound 
round the mountains, carrying on their 
shoulders the materials wherewith Long- 
wood Avas to be rendered fit to receive him ; 
and as the time of its completion drew nigh, 
he manifested his discontent by grumbling 
at the fifes and drums, to the sound of which 
the soldiers of the 53rd used to toil up those 
steep declivities, as their monotonous notes 
warned him of the speedy termination of his 
sojourn at our cottage. 

Shortly after the emperor left the Briars, 
we proposed riding to Longwood,to see him, 
feeling exceedingly anxious to know how 



he was accommodated, and rather, it may 
be, hoping to hear him make a comparison 
in favour of the sweet place he had left for 
the sterile-looking domain in which his ha- 
bitation was now placed ; and I remember 
being in a state of ecstacy at the prospect of 
again beholding my old playmate — the loss 
of whose society I had so deeply regretted. 
We found him seated on the steps of his 
billiard-room, chatting to little Tristram 
Montholon. The moment he perceived 
us, he started up and hastened towards us. 
Running to my mother, he saluted her 
on each cheek. After which fashion he 
welcomed my sister ; but, as usual with me, 
he seized me by the ear, and pinching it, 
exclaimed, "Ah ! Mademoiselle Betsee, etes 
vous sage, eh, eh?" He then asked us 
what we thought of his palace, and bid- 
ding us follow him, said he would shew us 
over his menage. We were first conducted 
to his bedroom, which was small and cheer- 
less. Instead of paper hangings, its walls 


were covered with fluted nankeen ; and the 
only decorations I observed were the differ- 
ent portraits of his family, which on a 
former occasion he had shewn to us. His 
bed was the little camp bedstead, with 
green silk hangings, on which he said he 
had slept when on the battle-fields of Ma- 
rengo and Austerlitz. The only thing 
approaching to magnificence in the furni- 
ture of this chamber, was a splendid silver 
wash-hand-stand bason and ewer. The first 
object on which his eyes would rest on 
awaking, was a small bust of his son, which 
stood on the mantel-piece, facing his bed, 
and above which hung a portrait of Marie 
Louise. We then passed on through an 
ante-room, to a small chamber, in which a 
bath had been put up for his use, and where 
he passed many hours of the day. 

The apartments appropriated to him were 
the two I have just mentioned, with a dress- 
ing-room, dining-room, drawing-room, and 
billiard-room. The latter was built by Sir 

F 2 


George Cockburn, and was the only well- 
proportioned room of which Longwood 
could boast. 

After all these chambers were exhibited, 
and commented on by Napoleon, he pro- 
ceeded with us to the kitchen, where he 
desired Piron the confectioner to send in 
some creams and bon-bons for Miss Betsee. 
Thence we went to the larder, where 
he directed our attention to a sheep that 
was hanging up, and said, laughingly, "Re- 
gardez — voila un mouton pour mon diner, 
dont on a fait une lanterne." And sure 
enough, it was so — the French servants 
ha\^ng placed a candle in its lean carcass, 
through which the light shone. 

After we had gone all over the rooms, 
he conducted us to those of Madame Mon- 
tholon, and introduced me to a little 
stranger — the countess's baby, only then 
six weeks old, and which he began dandling 
so awkwardly, that we were in a state of 
terror lest he should let it fall. He occa- 


sionally diverted himself by pinching the 
little creature's nose and chin, until it 
cried. When we quizzed him for his gau- 
cherie in handling the child, he assured us 
he had often nursed the little King of 
Rome when he was much younger than 
the little Lili. 

Before terminating our visit, Napoleon 
took us over the garden and grounds which 
surrounded his house. Nothing could ex- 
ceed the dreariness of the view which pre- 
sented itself from them ; and a spectator 
unaccustomed to the savage and gigantic 
scenery of St. Helena, could not fail to 
be impressed with its singularity. On 
the opposite side, the eye rested on a dis- 
mal and rugged^looking mountain, whose 
stupendous side was here and there diver- 
sified by patches of 'svild samphire, prickly 
pears, and aloes, serving to break but 
slightly the uniform sterility of the iron- 
coloured rocks, the whole range of which 
exhibited little more than huge apertures 


of caverns, and overhanging clifts, which, 
in the early years of the colonization of the 
island, afforded shelter to herds of wild 
goats. I remember hearing Madame Ber- 
trand tell my mother, that one of Napo- 
leon's favomite pastimes was to watch the 
clouds as they rolled over the highest point 
of that gigantic mountain, and as the mists 
wreathed themselves into fantastic drape- 
ries around its summit, sometimes ob- 
scuring the valleys from sight, and occa- 
sionally stretching themselves out far to 
sea, his imagination would take wing, and 
indulge itself in shaping out the future 
from those vapoury nothings. 

As a diversion to close the day, the em- 
peror proposed a ride in his Irish jaunting 
car. Our horses were accordingly sent on 
to Hutsgate, the residence of Madame 
Bertrand; and accompanied by Napoleon, 
we set off at a hard gallop. I always was, 
and still am, the greatest coward in a car- 
riage ; and of all vehicles, that jaunting car 


seemed to me to be the one best calculated 
to inspire terror : it was driven by the fear- 
less Archambaud, with unbroken Cape 
horses, three abreast, round that most dan- 
gerous of roads called the Devil's Punchbowl. 
The party occupying the side nearest the 
declivity seemed almost hanging over the 
precipice, while the others were, apparently, 
crushed against the gigantic walls formed by 
the perpendicular rock. These were drives 
which seemed to inspire Bonaparte with mis- 
chievous pleasure. He added to my fright, 
by repeatedly assuring me the horses were 
running away, and that we should be all 
dashed to pieces. I shall never forget the 
joy I experienced on arriving in safety at 
Madame Bertrand's, and finding myself 
once more mounted on my quiet pony Tom. 
After Napoleon had been on the island 
a few months, some newspapers arrived 
containing anecdotes of him, and all that 
occurred during his stay at the Briars. 
Amongst other sottises, was a letter written 


by the Marquess de M , in which he 

described all the romping games that had 
taken place between Napoleon and our fa- 
mily, such as blindman's buff, the sword 
scenes, and ending his communication by 
observing, that "Miss Betsee" was the 
wildest little girl he had ever met ; and ex- 
pressing his belief, that the young lady was 
foUe. This letter had been translated into 
the German and English journals. My fa- 
ther was much enrao^ed at mv name thus 
appearing, and wished to call the marquess 
to an account for his ill nature; but my 
mother's intercessions prevailed, and she 
obtained an ample apology from the mar- 
quess. On hearing of the affront that "Miss 
Betsee" had received from the vieua,' imbe- 
cile, as Napoleon generally denominated 
him, he requested Dr. O'Meara would call 
at the Briars on his way to St. James's 
Valley, with a message to me, which Avas 
to let me know how I might revenge my- 
self. It so happened, that the marquess 


prided himself on the peculiar fashion of 
his wig, to which was attached a long cue. 
This embelHshment to his head Napoleon 
desired me to burn off with caustic. I was 
always ready for mischief, and in this in- 
stance had a double inducement, on the 
emperor's promise to reward me, on the 
receipt of the pigtail, with the prettiest fan 
Mr. Solomon's shop contained. Fortunately 
I was prevented indulging in this most 
hoydenish trick, by the remonstrances of 
my mother. The next time I saw the em- 
peror, his first exclamation was, " Eh bien, 
Mademoiselle Betsee, a tu obei mes ordres 
et gagne I'eventail?" In reply, I made a 
oreat merit of beinsf too dutiful a daus^hter 

o o o 

to disobey my mother, however much my 
inclinations jjrompted me to revenge the 
insult. He pinched my ear, in token of 
approval, and said, " Ah, Miss Betsee, tu 
commences a, etre sage." He then called 
Dr. O'Meara, and asked him if he had pro- 
cured the fan ? The doctor replied, that 

F 3 


there were none pretty enough. I believe 
I looked disappointed ; on perceiving which, 
Napoleon, with his usual good nature, con- 
>>oled me with the promise of something 
prettier — and he kept his word. In a few 
days I received a ring of brilliants, forming 
the letter N, surmounted by a small eagle. 
The only revenge I took on the marquess, 
was by relating an anecdote of his greedy 
propensity, which diverted Napoleon very 
much. He was very fond of cauliflowers, 
which were rare vegetables in this island; 
dining with us one day at the Briars, his 
aid-de-camp, Captain Gor, had omitted to 
point out to him that there Avere some at 
table ; and it was only when about to be 
removed that the marquess espied the 
retreating dish. His rage was most amus- 
ing ; and, with much gesticulation, he ex- 
claimed, " Bete ! pourquoi ne m'a tu pas 
dit qu'il y avait des choux-fleurs?" 

During one of our riding excursions, we 
encountered Napoleon, who was returning 


from Sandy Bay, whither he* had been to 

visit Mr. D , who resided there. He 

expressed himself delighted with the place, 
and spoke in high terms of the urbanity of 
the venerable host of " Fairy Land." This 
gentleman had passed all his life at St. 
Helena, and had at this time arrived at the 
advanced age of seventy, without ever hav- 
ing left the island. His appearance was 
most prepossessing ; and to those who loved 
to revel in the ideal and imaginative, he 
might have been likened to a good genius 
presiding over the fairy valley in which he 
dwelt. A few years after the emperor's 

visit, Mr. D was induced to come to 

England, and, thinking that he might never 
again return to his lovely and beloved val- 
ley, had a tree felled from his own " fairy 
land," from under the shade of which he 
had often viewed the enchanting scenery 
around, and had his coffin made from the 
wood. His arrival in England, together 
with his interesting character, being made 


known to the Prince Regent, afterwards 
George IV., his Royal Highness desired 

that Mr. D might be presented to him, 

and his Royal Highness was so gratified 
with the interview, that he afterwards 

knighted Mr. D , who subsequently 

returned to the island of which he Avas so 
much enamoured. 

I asked Napoleon if he had remarked, 
Avhen at Sandy Bay, three singularly form- 
ed rocks, shaped like sugar loaves, and called 
Lot's Wife, and Daughters. He replied, 
that he had. I then related to him an 
anecdote connected with the largest of 
the three. More than half a century had 
elapsed since two slaves, who preferred a 
freebooting life to one of labour and sub- 
jection, secreted themselves in a cave half 
way up the declivity which terminates the 
spiral rock called " Lot's Wife." From 
this stronghold their nocturnal sallies and 
depredations were carried on with great 
success, and their retreat remaining for a 


long while undiscovered, they became the 
terror of the island. They were at length, 
however, tracked to their rocky hold, where 
they stood a long siege, repelling all at- 
tacks by rolling stones on their assailants. 
It was at last deemed necessary to send a 
party of soldiers, to fire on them if they 
refused to surrender. But this measure 
was rendered unnecessary by the superior 
activity of one of the besieging party, who 
managed to climb the rock, reach the op- 
posite side of the mountain, and clambering 
up still higher to gain a situation above the 
cave, the mouth of which became thus ex- 
posed to the same mode of attack which 
had effected its defence ; so that, when one 
of the unfortunate freebooters approached 
the edge of the precipice to roll down stones, 
he was crushed to death, and his compa- 
nions, who were following him, severely 
wounded. Many of the islanders believe 
to this day, that the ghost of the murdered 
slave is seen to make the circuit of the wild 


spot wherein he carried on his nightly or- 
gies — a superstition giving to an " airy no- 
thing a local habitation, and a name." In 
St. Helena every cavern has its spirit, and 
every rock its legend. Napoleon having 
listened to my legend of the sugar-loaf 
mountain, said lie should regard it with 
greater interest the next time he rode in 
that direction. 



To horse ! to horse ! 

Now there is nothing gives a man such spirit, 
Leavening his hlood as Cayenne doth a curry, 
As going at full speed. Byron. 




One of the many instances of Napoleon's 
great good nature, and his kindness in pro- 
moting my amusement, was on the occa- 
sion of the races at Deadwood, which had 
been instituted by the Honourable Henry 
John Rous, the present member for West- 
minster, and which were at that time anti- 
cipated by the inhabitants of the island as a 
kind of jubilee. From having been, as was 


often the case, in arrears with my lessons. 
my father, by way of punishing me, declared 
that I should not go to the races ; and 
fearing that he might be induced to break 
his determination, lent my pony Tom, to 
a friend of his for that day. My vexation 
■was very great at not knowing where to 
get a horse, and I happened to mention 
my difficulty to Dr. O'Meara, who told Na- 
poleon; and my delight may be conceived 
when, a short time after all our party had 
left the Briars for Deadwood, I perceived 
the doctor winding down the mountain 
path which led to our house, followed by a 
slave leading a superb grey horse called 
" Mameluke." with a lady's side-saddle and 
housino^s of crimson velvet embroidered 
with gold. Dr. 0"Meara said that on 
telling the emperor of my distress, he 
desired the quietest horse in his stable 
to be immediately prepared for my use. 
This simply good-natured act of the 
emperor occasioned no small disturbance 


on the island, and sufficiently punished me 
for acting contrary to my father's wishes, 
by the pain it gave me to hear that he 
was considered to have committed a breach 
of disciphne in pemiitting one of his family 
to ride a horse belonging to the Longwood 
establishment, and for which he was repri- 
manded by the governor. 

We were told by Napoleon, the next day, 
that he had witnessed the races from the 
upper windows of General Bertrand's house, 
and expressed himself much amused by 
them. He said he supposed I was too 
nmch diverted by the gay scene to feel 
my usual timidity. The emperor fre- 
quently urged my father to correct me 
whilst young, and said I ought never to 
be encouraged in my foolish fears, or even 
permitted to indulge therein. He said 
the empress Josephine suffered the great- 
est terror in a carriage, and he mentioned 
several instances of her extreme fright, 
when he was obhged to reprimand her 


severely. If I remember rightly, the Du- 
chess D'Abrantes mentions in her memoirs 
of the emperor, one of the anecdotes on 
this subject, which he recounted to us. 

There was so very little to vary the mo- 
notony of Napoleon's life, that he took an 
interest in the most trifling attempts at 
gaiety in the island, and he generally con- 
sented to our entreaties to be present at 
some of the many entertainments which 
my father delighted in promoting. On one 
occasion, my father gave a fete to cele- 
brate the anniversary of my birthday, at a 
pretty little place he possessed within the 
boundary of the emperor's rides, called 
" Ross Cottage," so named as being the 
abode, for a short time, of a highly esteemed 
friend, the flag captain of the Northum- 
berland, whom Napoleon always desig- 
nated as " un bravissimo uomo." When 
the festivities were at their height, we 
descried the emperor riding along the hill's 
side towards the house, but on seeing such 


an assembly, he sent to say that he would 
content himself with looking at us from 
the heights above. I did not consider 
this was fulfilling his promise of coming 
to the party, and not liking to be so dis- 
appointed, I scampered off to where he 
had taken up his position, and begged he 
would be present at our festivity, telling 
him he must not refuse, since it was my 
birth-day. But all my entreaties were un- 
availing; he said he could not make up his 
mind to descend the hill to be exposed to 
the gaze of the multitude, who wished to 
gratify their curiosity with the sight of him. 
I insisted, however, on his tasting a piece 
of birthday cake, which had been sent for 
that occasion by a friend from England, and 
who little knowing the strict surveillance 
exercised over all those in any way con- 
nected with the fallen chief and his ad- 
herents, had the cake ornamented with 
a large eagle ; this, unluckily for us, 
was the subject of much animadversion. 


I named it to Napoleon as an inducement 
for him to eat the cake, saying, " It 
is the least you can do for getting us into 
such disgrace." Having thus induced him 
to eat a thick slice, he pinched my ear, 
calling me a saucy simpleton, and galloped 
away humming, or rather attempting to 
sing, with his most unmusical voice, " Vive 
Henri Quatre." 

One morning we went to call on Ma- 
dame Bertrand, and found Napoleon seated 
by her bedside. We were about retreating, 
thinking we had been shown into a wrong 
room, when he called out in his imperfect 
English, desiring us to enter, and asked 
what we were afraid of, saying, " I am 
visiting my dear loaf, my mistress." My 
mother observed that the latter term had 
a strange signification, and that it Avas 
never used in our language to express 
friendship. He laughed heartily at the 
awkward error he had made, and promised 
not to forget the interpretation of the 


word for the future, repeating that he only 
meant to express that Madame Bertrand 
was his dear friend. 

It was by Napoleon's especial desire that 
we ventured now and then to correct his 
English, and being very anxious to improve 
himself, he never let an opportunity pass 
when in our society without trying to con- 
verse in English, though, from his exceed- 
ingly bad pronunciation and literal trans- 
lations, it required the most exclusive at- 
tention to understand him. For my part, 
I seldom had patience to render him much 
assistance, my sister being generally obliged 
to finish what I had begun, for in the mid- 
dle of his lesson I would walk away at- 
tracted by some more frivolous pursuit; 
on returning I was always saluted with a tap 
on the cheek or a pinch of the ear, with 
the exclamation of " Ah ! Mademoiselle 
Betsee, petite etourdie que vous etes, vous 
ne devenez jamais sage." Bonaparte on 
one occasion asked us if we had seen little 


Arthur, who Was about a month old, and 
he repeated Madame Bertrand's speech on 
introducing the child to him : " Allow me 
to present to your majesty a subject who 
has dared to enter the gates of Longwood 
without a pass from Sir Hudson Lowe." 

He sat a long time chatting, and quiz- 
zing me about the short waist and petti- 
coats of my frock. He took great pleasure 
in teasing me about my trousers, and calling 
me a little boy, which he always made 
a point of doing whenever he espied the 
trousers. He thought the fashion of wearing 
short waists very frightful, and said if he 
were governor, he should issue an order 
that the ladies Avere not to appear dressed 
in that style. Before leaving Madame 
Bertrand's cottage, he joined the children 
in a game of "puss in the corner," to which 
I acted as maitresse de ballet. 

Napoleon used to evince great curiosity 
about the subject of our conversations, 
when we called on Lady Lowe at Planta- 


tion House, and asked whether they dis- 
cussed our visits to Long wood. I told 
him that the same sort of interrogation 
went on there, and that I was sure to be 
sharply (though good-naturedly) cross- 
questioned about what we did and what 
we heard, when in his presence. 

One evening, whilst on a visit to Ma- 
dame Bertrand, we strolled up to see Mr. 
O'Meara, who happened to be engaged with 
the emperor ; Cipriani, however, sent in to 
say that some ladies were waiting to see 
him, and on Napoleon hearing our names, 
he requested us to come in. We found 
him in the billiard-room, employed looking 
over some very large maps, and moving 
about a number of pins, some with red 
heads, others with black. I asked him 
what he was doing. He replied that he 
was fighting over again some of his battles, 
and that the red-headed pins were meant 
to represent the English, and the black 


to indicate the French. One of his chief 
amusements was going through the evohi- 
tions of a lost battle, to see if it were pos- 
sible by any better manoeuvring to have 
won it. 



Foot it featly here and there, 
Hark, hark ! 
The watch-dog's hark. 
Hark, hark ! I hear 
The strain of strutting chanticleer. 






A BALL, occasionally given by the officers 
of the 66th regiment, afforded some va- 
riety to the dreariness of Madame Ber- 
trand's changed existence. One of these 
took place whilst we were on a visit to 
her, and it was arranged that we should 



go together in Napoleon's carriage, after 
dining with the emperor, as he said he 
wished to criticise our dresses, and then 
proceed from his door to the ball. 

Madame Montholon very good natur- 
edly sent her maid Josephine to arrange 
my hair. She combed and strained it off 
my face, making me look like a Chinese. 
It was the first time I had seen such a 
coiffure, and I thought I had never beheld 
any thing so hideous in my life, and would 
gladly have pulled it all down, but there 
was no time, and I was obliged to make 
my appearance before Napoleon, whose 
laugh I dreaded, with my eyes literally start- 
ing from my head, in consequence of the 
uneasy manner in which my hair had been 
arranged. However, to my great comfort, 
he did not quiz it, but said it was the only 
time he had ever seen it wear the appear- 
ance of any thing like neatness. But my 
little leno frock did not pass muster so well: 
he declared it was frightful, from its ex- 


treme shortness, and desired me to have it 
lengthened. In vain I pleaded the impos- 
sibility of any alteration ; he kept twitch- 
ing it about, until I was obliged to fly to 
Josephine, and have the desired change 
made by letting down some of the tucks, 
thereby spoiling the effect of my pretty 
dress ; but I knew it was useless resisting, 
when once the fiat had gone forth. 

After dinner the carriage was announced, 
and we all obeyed the emperor's signal of 
rising from table, his manner of performing 
that ceremony being brusque and startling- 
He would push his chair suddenly away, 
and rise as if he had received an electric 
shock. I recollect his remarking upon the 
want of gallantry displayed by Englishmen, 
in sitting so long after dinner. He said, 
" If Balcombe had been here, he would 
want to drink one, two, three, ah ! cinq 
bouteilles, eh ? Balcombe go to the Briars 
to get droonk ? " It was one of his early 
attempts at expressing himself in English. 

G 2 


I think I can see him now, holding up one 
of his exquisitely taper fingers, and counting 
how many bottles my father usually drank 
before he joined the ladies. " If I were you, 
Mrs. Balcombe," he said, addressing my 
mother, " I should be very angry at being 
turned out to wait for two or three hours, 
whilst your husband and his friends were 
making themselves drunk. How different 
are Frenchmen, who think society cannot 
be agreeable without the presence of ladies !" 
After drinking some of La Page's delect- 
able coffee, and being helped to the sugar 
by Napoleon's fingers, instead of silver tongs, 
we proceeded to the carriage, which was in 
waiting. Madame Bertrand led the way, 
carrying her baby, little Arthur, followed 
by my mother, my sister and myself, and 
General Gourgaud. On being seated, the 
signal was given, the whip applied to the 
spirited Cape steeds, and away they tore, 
first on one side of the track (for road there 
was none) and then on the other, Madame 


Bertrand screaming with all her power for 
Acharabaud to stop; but it was not until a 
cheek was put to the velocity of the car- 
riage, by its coming in contact with a large 
gum-wood tree, that we had any chance of 
being heard. At length the door was 
opened, and out we scrambled, up to our 
knees in mud, the night being wet and 
foggy. We had nearly a mile to walk 
through this filthy road to Deadwood, and 
the poor Countess all the while carrying 
her infant, who would not be pacified with 
any other nurse. I never shall forget the 
figure we cut on arriving at Mr. Baird's 
quarters, where we were provided with dry 
clothes; nor the ludicrous apjiearance of 
Madame Bertrand, habited in one of Mrs. 
Baird's dresses, which was half a yard too 
short, and much too small in every way. 
Mrs. Baird being remarkably petite, whilst 
the Countess was renommee for her tall 
and graceful stature. But in spite of our 
adventure and contretemps, we had a very 


merry ball, and the party did not separate 
until long after the booming guns from the 
forts around announced the break of day. 
We cared little for our walk home through 
the mist and rain, as we knew that on 
arriving at the Grand Marshal's cottage we 
should be refreshed by a good breakfast 
and comfortable beds. Napoleon compli- 
mented me on my dancing and appearance 
at the ball, which he had heard were much 
admired, and also told me that I was consi- 
dered very like Baroness Sturmer,and might 
be mistaken for lier young sister. I was flat- 
tered at the resemblance, as I thought her 
tlie prettiest woman I had ever seen. 

I had been to a breakfast given to Lord 
Amherst, (the British ambassador to the 
Chinese empire.) on board the Newcastle, 
where this fete was held, the entertainers 
being Sir Pulteney and Lady Malcolm. 
On next visiting Longwood, I was sur- 
prised and vexed to find that the emperor 
had heard an account of the party from 


other lips than mme, as I was anxious to 
forestall the naiTation of the exploits of a 
certain hoydenish young lady, namely, 
myself; but he had received a faithful de- 
tail of them from Dr. O'Meara. He pre- 
tended to scold and take me to task for 
being such a petite folle, and said he hoped 
the account were not true ; he then began 
recapitulating the offences of which I had 
been guilty, to my father, stating that I had 
teased and locked up pretty little Miss P., 
while the ladies were being whipped* over 
the side of the frigate to return to the shore, 
and it was not until we had nearly reached 
the fort that the fair lady's absence was per- 
ceived, when, it being inconvenient to re- 
turn the barge, it was proposed to Captain 
G., one of the party, and a great admirer 
of the young lady, that he should proceed 
to the frio^ate and rescue the terrified dri. 
Napoleon said, " Miss Betsee must be 

* This is a technical term for lowering ladies do-\vn 
the side of a ship. 


])unished for being so naughty. N'est ce 
pas, Balcombe?" turning to my father, whom 
lie requested to set me a task, to be repeat- 
ed to him on my next visit ; such a request 
my father was of course delighted to put 
into execution, being only too happy to have 
an excuse to make me study. On hearing 
what was in store for me, I assured him 
I had been sufficiently punished already for 
my cruelty to Miss P., having been really 
frightened out of my little wits by the 
roaring of the cannon from every fort 
which overhung the bay, and from all the 
men-of-war stationed in the harbour, to 
salute Lord Amherst on his landing. I 
also mentioned the scolding I had received 
from Lady Lowe, who kept desiring me to 
use mv reasmi, and " not to be so childish." 
Napoleon did not lose the opportunity 
of attacking Lady Lowe, though at my 
expense, and said he wondered at her 
ladyship's want of perception in giving me 
credit for what I never possessed. I 


amused Bonaparte that clay by my ecstacies 
in describing the impression the courtier- 
like manner and charming address of Lord 
Amherst had made on me. He seemed 
pleased at my entertaining the same idea as 
himself, and said, " The ambassador must 
have been fascinating to have impressed 
your youthful fancy." 

From the strict surveillance exercised 
over the emperor, the inconveniences 
suffered by his suite were, on many occa- 
sions, extremely annoying, and I quote the 
following as an instance : — my sister and I 
were constantly in the habit of staying with 
Madame Bertrand, who kindly volunteered, 
during my long visits to her, to superintend 
my studies. Upon one occasion, at her re- 
quest, I attempted to sing a little French 
romance, composed by Hortense Beauhar- 
nois, daughter to the empress Josephine, 
entitled, " Le depart des Styriens." This 
song had been sent to her the preceding 
evening by Napoleon, who was anxious to 

G 3 


hear it, and intimated that he should come 
for that purpose. He came according to 
promise, but was not only disappointed but 
angry at the discordant sounds that issued 
from the piano, which, from damp and dis- 
use, had acquired tones very like those of a 
broken down hurdy-gurdy. The only per- 
son on the island capable of remedying the 
defects of the instrument, was Mr. Guinness, 
band-master on board the " General Kid," 
then lying in the St. James's harbour. Mr. 
Guinness*, who, at the request of the 
countess was summoned by my father for 
the purpose, was on the point of leaving 
the side of the ship, when an order from 
the governor desired him to stay where he 

Napoleon expressed a wish to see a boa 
constrictor brought by Captain Murray 
Maxwell to the island. I had described 

* Mr. Guinness is now a member of the Royal So- 
ciety of Musicians, and the well known leader of the 
orchestra at the Almack's balls, &c. 


its gorging a goat, and the extraordinary 
appearance it presented after such a meal. 
The horns of the unfortunate animal, which 
had been put ahve into the cage, seemed as 
if they must protrude through the snake's 
skin. The emperor observed, that he 
thought, from what he had heard, that the 

Marquess de M , from the quantity of 

food he consumed, must resemble a boa 
constrictor. I understood that it was not 
thought advisable to comply with the em- 
. peror's wish to have the monster conveyed 
to Longwood. 

Early one morning, whilst I was wan- 
dering about the gardens and plantations 
at Longwood, I encountered the emperor, 
who stopped, told me to come with him, 
and he would shew me some pretty toys. 
Such an invitation was not to be resisted, 
and I accordingly accompanied him to his 
billiard-room, where he displayed a most 
gorgeously carved set of chess-men, which 
had been presented to him by Mr. Elphin- 


stone. He might well call them toys, every 
one being in itself a gem. The castles, 
surmounting superbly chased elephants, 
were filled with warriors in the act of dis- 
charging arrows from their bended bows; 
the knights were cased in armour, with 
their visors up, and mounted on beautifully 
caparisoned horses ; mitred bishops appeared 
in their flowing robes ; and every pawn was 
varied in character and splendour of cos- 
tume, each figure furnishing a specimen of 
the dress of some different nation. Such 
workmanship had never before left China : 
art and taste had been exerted to the utmost 
to devise such rare specimens of skill and 
elegance. Tlie emperor was as much pleased 
with his present as I should have been with 
a new plaything. He told me he had just 
finished a game of chess with Lady Malcolm, 
with these most beautiful things, and that 
she had beaten him ;^ he thought, solely from 
his attention having been occupied in 
admiring the men, instead of considering 


the game. The work-boxes and card- 
counters were lovely: the latter represent- 
ing all the varied trades of China, minutely 
executed in carving. These gifts were pre- 
sented to Napoleon, as a token of gratitude, 
by Mr. Elphinstone, from the circumstance 
of the emperor having humanely attended 
to his brother, when severely wounded on 
the field of Waterloo — on which occa- 
sion Napoleon sent for his refreshment a 
goblet of wine from his own canteen, on 
hearing he was faint from the loss of blood. 
Napoleon observed, that he thought the 
chess-men too pretty for St. Helena, and 
that therefore he should transmit tliem to 
the King of Rome. Another present which 
attracted my attention, was a superb ivory 
tea chest, which, when open, presented a 
perfect model of the city of Canton, most 
ingeniously manufactured of stained ivory ; 
underneath this tray were packets of the 
finest tea, done up in fantastic shapes. Napo- 
leon told me, that when he was Emperor of 


France he did not permit any tea to be drunk 
in his dominions except that grown in Swit- 
zerland, which so nearly resembled the 
Chinese plant that the difference was not 
perceptible. He also cultivated the growth 
of beet-root, for the purpose of making- 
sugar, instead of depending upon foreign 

Seeing the ex-emperor one day less ami- 
able than usual, and his face very much 
swollen and inflamed, I inquired the cause, 
when he told me that Mr. O'Meara had just 
performed the operation of drawing a tooth, 
which caused him some pain. I exclaimed, 
" What ! — you complain of the pain so 
trifling an operation can give ? You, who 
have passed through battles innumerable, 
amid storms of bullets whizzing around 
you, and by some of which you must occa- 
sionally have been hit ! I am ashamed of 
you. But, nevertheless, give me the tooth, 
and I will get it set by Mr. Solomons as an 
ear-ring, and wear it for your sake." The 


idea made him laugh heartily, in spite of his 
suffering, and caused him to remark, that 
he thought I should never cut my wisdom 
teeth ; — he was always in extra good hu- 
mour with himself whenever he was guilty 
of any thing approaching to the nature of 
a witticism. 

Napoleon had a peculiar horror of ugly 
women, and knowing this weakness, I one 
day begged he would allow me to introduce 
to him a Mrs. S., the wife of a gentleman 
holding a high official appointment in India. 
I must confess feeling rather nervous at the 
time, knowing her to be one of the very 
plainest persons ever seen. She had, never- 
theless, all the airs and graces of a beauty, 
and believed herself to be as lovely as 
Chinerey had pourtrayed her on ivory. She 
thought she might make an impression on 
the great man, and for that purpose loaded 
herself with all the finery an Indian wardrobe 
could afford. She dressed in crimson velvet 
bordered with pearls, and her black hair she 


braided and adorned with pearls, and butter- 
flies composed of diamonds, rubies, and eme- 
ralds. When introduced to Napoleon, and 
after he had put the usual questions to her, 
as to whether she were married, how many 
children she had, and so on; he scrutinised 
her over and over again, trying, but in vain, 
to discover some point whereon to compli- 
ment her; at last he perceived that she 
had an immense quantity of coarse, fuzzy, 
black hair, which he remarked, by saying 
to her, " Madame, you have most luxuriant 
hair." The lady was so much pleased with 
this speech of the emperor's, that on her 
arrival in England she published in the 
newspapers an account of her interview with 
him, and said " Napoleon had lost his 
heart to her beauty." I really did incur 
the emperor's displeasure for a few days 
by the trick I had played him, having led 
him to suppose he was about to see a per- 
fect Venus; and he prohibited me from ever 
introducing any more ladies to him. 



Ye horrid tow'rs tli' abode of broken hearts ; 
Ye dungeons and ye cages of despair, 
That monarchs have supplied from age to age 
With Music, — such unto their sov'reign ears, — 
The sighs and groans of miserable men ! 





napoleon's solicitude about CAPT. meynell's 


Napoleon was very anxious about hearing 
any gossip relative to pic-nics, balls, or 
parties, that took place at St. Helena, and 
always made me recount to him what we 
did, who we met, and who were my part- 
ners. He once asked me who danced the 
best at the governor's balls; and on my 
replying Mrs.Wilks, the governor's lady, he 

138 RECOLLECTIONS OF [cH. xill. 

was anxious to know what sort of dances 
were the fashion there. I described our 
quadrilles and country dances, which liad 
been introduced by a Mr. C , the great- 
est beau that ever came to St. Helena. This 
youth was such an exquisite, that he would 
sit with his feet elevated considerably above 
his head for an hour before dressing for 
dinner, that he might squeeze them the 
more readily into tight shoes ; he wore his 
epaulette nearly down to his elbow ; and 
his sword belt was embroidered with golden 
oak leaves. The same kind of embroidery 
confined his silk stocking round each knee, 
where it resembled the order of the garter. 
His disgust was very great at finding the 
St. Helena ladies understand nothing but 
kitchen dances, and reels ; and he imme- 
diately began to drill, and, after much 
toil, succeeded in instructing them in the 
mysteries of the quadrille figures. Once, 
whilst he was figuring away in the capacity 
of dancing master, my mother very uncere- 


monioiisly put her foot on his heel, because 
he stood bending before her, and nearly ex- 
tinguishing her eye with the swallow tails 
of his uniform coat. The perplexity this 
occasioned him was considerable, from the 
difficulty he had in thrusting his foot again 
into its tiny case. 

Napoleon was so amused with our de- 
scription of young C , that he begged 

us to bring him to Longwood, if he could 
get a pass ; one was accordingly procured ; 
and as the emperor's eye rested on him, 
putting on a most comical look, he told him 
that he had heard from Miss Betsee that 
he was a great dmidy, — which was any thing 
but pleasing intelligence to the young hero, 
who began to think he was indebted for the 
honour of his interview with the great man 
to the circumstance of his being considered 
a sort of tom-fool. Napoleon, suiting his con- 
versation (which, as I have before said, he 
always did) to his company, began admir- 
ing the cut of his coat, and said, " You are 

140 RECOLLECTIONS OF [cH. xill. 

more fortunate than myself, for I am oblig- 
ed to wear my coat turned ;" this had 
really been the case, as no cloth could be 
procured on the island of the shade of green 
worn by Napoleon and his suite. Young 

C 's interview with the great man, 

however, ended very satisfactorily to both; 
for, although a little too conceited, he was 
very gentlemanly, spoke French fluently, 
and left a pleasing impression on the exile 
of Lonofwood. 

One morning, my father told me he was 
going to Longwood, and had been request- 
ed by the emperor to bring myself and 
sister to see him, as he had something cu- 
rious to shew us. We were only too happy 
to obey his wishes ; and the next day saw 
us at Longwood. He reproached us for hav- 
ing so long neglected to pay him a visit, 
and wished to know why we had absented 
ourselves so much from him : on my telling 
him, I had but just recovered from a slight 
attack of coup de soleil, he was quite cheer- 


ing in his sympathy. I told him it had 
been occasioned by my walking with 
Captain Mackey and my sister to call on 
Mrs. Wilks, and that our way led over the 
high mountain at the back of the Briars, 
called Peak Hill. It was certainly a tre- 
mendous undertaking for one so young to 
attempt. The mountain is not accessible 
to four-footed animals, and is 2000 feet in 
height, and nearly perpendicular. Imagine, 
therefore, our toiling to its summit, and de- 
scending to the deep valley beneath, crossing- 
Francis Plain, and ascending two mountain 
ridges, before terminating our expedition ! 
We arrived at Plantation House worn and 
weary ; but when once there, the kindness 
of the lady governess, and the care and at- 
tention of her amiable and lovely daughter, 
soon made us forget om* fatigues ; and at 
noon of that same day we started for Sir Wil- 
liam D 's lovely valley of "Fairy Land." 

I described all our adventure, and the kind- 
ness we had received from Mrs. Wilks at 


Plantation House, and from Miss D 

at Fairy Land. A few days after Napoleon 
invited the former lady, with her husband 
and daughter, to Longwood, but from poli- 
tical reasons the honour of the interview 
was declined. The wonderful exhibition we 
were invited to see, was the process of turn- 
ing water into ice by one of Leslie's ma- 
chines, sent out to Napoleon for that pur- 
pose ; he explained the process to us, and 
tried to enlighten me as to the principle 
upon which air-pumps were formed ; he ad- 
vised me, moreover, to get a book upon 
elementary chemistry, for my amusement 
and improvement ; and finished, as usual, by 
turning to my father, recommending him to 
enforce a lesson every day, and directing the 
good O'Meara, as he called his doctor, to be 
my examiner. After making a cup of ice, 
he insisted upon my putting a large piece 
into my mouth, and laughed to see the 
contortions it induced from the excessive 
cold. It was the first ice that had ever 


been seen at St. Helena ; and a young 

island lady, Miss De F , who was with 

us, would not believe that the solid mass 
in her hand was really frozen water, until 
it melted and streamed down her fingers. 
I recollect ending the morning's diversions 
by cutting from Napoleon's coat an em- 
broidered bugle, and running away with it 
as a trophy. I now regret that I did not 
keep it ; but, like most other relics and 
valuable mementos, I gave it away — 
it was attached to the coat he wore at 

The emperor asked me one day, whether 
I was acquainted with Captain Wallis, who 
commanded the " Podargus;" and on my 
replying in the affirmative, he said, some- 
what abruptly, " What does he think of 
me?" It so happened, that, in the case of 
this officer, the prejudice against Napoleon 
(and indeed against every thing French, at 
that time common to all Englishmen) was 
sharpened, upon the whetstone of painful 

144 RECOLLECTIONS OF [cH. xill. 

experience, into the acuteness of rancour 
and bitter hatred; perhaps the word preju- 
dice is hardly a fit term to apply to that parti- 
cular mania which then existed, — a feeling 
which, first instilled into our infant minds 
by our nurses, " grew with our growth, and 
strengthened with our strength," until it 
fully ripened into that settled jealousy, 
which was but too apparent in all the trans- 
actions which took place between the in- 
dividual inhabitants of the hostile countries. 
It was, therefore, not without the assist- 
ance of all my small stock of girlish assur- 
ance that I ventured to answer, " Oh ! he 
has the most abominable opinion of you in 
the world ; he says that you shut him up 
for ten years in the Temple ; and there is 
no end to the barbarities that he lays to 
your charge. He declared to us, that, on one 
occasion, they removed him from one cell 
to another, which had been just vacated by 
the corpse of a man who had shot himself 
through the head, and that he met the 


body on the way. Moreover, his gaolers 
had not the decency to wash away the 
dead man's brains, which had been scat- 
tered on the wall, but left them there for 
the special annoyance of the living occu- 
pant. Besides that, he accuses you of 
nearly starving him : to such an extent did 
he suiFer from want of food, that he and 
Captain Shaw, a fellow-sufferer, once tore a 
live duck to pieces, and devoured it like 

The emperor observed, that it was not to 
be wondered at that Captain Wallis was so 
inveterate against him, as he was the lieu- 
tenant who, together with Wright, had been 
convicted of landing spies and brigands in 
his territories, for which they were after- 
wards reported to have been murdered by 
his (the emperor's) orders. The conspiracy 
of Georges, Moreau and Pichegru, in which 
Captains Wright and Wallis were supposed 
to have been mixed up, has been so often 
described, and so ably discussed, that there 


146 RECOLLECTIONS OF [cH. xill. 

are few who have taken an interest in the 
history of Napoleon, but must be well ac- 
quainted with all the circumstances con- 
nected with it. I remember being greatly 
interested with Wallis's narrative of his 
escape from prison, as it was told to us by 
him. Although years have passed since I 
heard it, still it is as freshly graven on my 
memory as when first my wondering ears 
listened to the exciting history. After ten 
long years of dreary captivity, urged by 
that powerful stimulus which hope builds 
upon despair, with the assistance of a rusty 
knife which he had contrived to conceal 
from his gaoler, he succeeded in moving 
one of the bars from his prison windows. 
The first great obstacle being removed, he 
found he had to overcome another, not less 
formidable. A hundred feet beneath the 
aperture which his patience and skill had 
succeeded in making large enough for his 
egress, flowed the still, dark waters of 
the Seine. As a drowning man catches at 


a straw, so did he seize upon whatever was 
likely to break his fall ; and with a rope of 
no greater length and thickness than he 
was able to make out of his linen, he 
lowered himself as far as it would reach. 
The leap was fearful, but the very walls 
he touched gave him a convulsive shudder, 
when they brought to his mind the horrors 
of captivity and its concomitant evils, of 
which starvation was not the least. The 
splash of his fall into the water was loud 
enough to rouse the sentinels ; he was 
senseless from its stunning effects for some 
seconds, and when he came to himself, 
struck out for the opposite bank. The 
bullets whizzed round him in all direc- 
tions, but the darkness of the night was 
sufficient protection, and he gained the 
friendly shore in safety. By the aid of an 
accomplice, he obtained a pedlar's dress, 
in which, after numberless hair-breadth 
escapes, he reached the coast, and was 
taken on board an English frigate. He was 

H 2 

148 RECOLLECTIONS OF [cH. xill, 

afterwards appointed to the Podargus, and 
sent to cruise off St. Helena, he being, na- 
turally enough, supposed to be the best 
guard to set over one, whom he hated as 
deeply as he did Napoleon. 

We always made a point of riding to 
Longwood every New Year's day, to wish 
the emperor a " happy new year, and we 
dined with him or Madame Bertrand, 
though more frequently with the former. 
I recollect one New Year's day T had been 
anticipating a present from the emperor 
all the morning, and as the day wore on, 
my hopes began to wax faint, and I was 
beginning to make up my mind to have 
nothing new and pretty to feast my eyes 
upon, when Napoleon himself waddled 
into Madame Bertrand's room, where my 
sister and I were seated, and perhaps ra- 
ther enviously viewing some elegant sou- 
venirs of which the emperor had made 
the countess a present that morning. In 
his hand were two beautiful Sevres cups. 


exquisitely painted, one representing him- 
self in Egypt, in the dress of a Mussulman ; 
upon the other was delineated an Egyptian 
woman drawing water. " Here, Mesde- 
moiselles Betsee and Jane, are two cups 
for you ; accept them as a mark of the 
friendship I entertain for you both, and 
for your kindness to Madame Bertrand." 
Oh! how delighted I was with my beauti- 
ful gift ; I would not trust it out of my 
hand, but rode with it wrapt in cotton all 
the way home, for fear of its being injured. 
It always brought a smile to Napoleon's 
countenance, whenever he gave pleasure 
to the young around him. 

One day, before the emperor had left my 
father's, we were walking with him down 
the Pomegranate Walk which led to the 
garden, when suddenly the voices of stran- 
gers were heard, and he began running 
away as fast as he could towards the gar- 
den gate, but found it locked from within. 
The strangers' steps approached nearer 


and nearer, and Napoleon had nothing left 
for it, but to jump over the garden fence, 
which, unfortunately, was defended on the 
top by the prickly pear, a plant covered 
with thorns. When he found himself on 
the top, there he stuck, the thorny bush 
preventing his extricating himself. At 
length, after a considerable struggle, torn 
clothes, and with his legs much scratched, 
the discomfited emperor descended on the 
garden side of the hedge, before the ad- 
vancing company surprised him. The 
wounds he received that day were of no 
trifling nature, and it required a little 
of Dr. O'Meara's skill to extract the 
thorns which the prickly pears had de- 
posited in his imperial person. 

Napoleon always evinced great kindness 
and interest for those who were ill, and 
his sympathy was much excited in the case 
of Captain Meynell who had a very severe 
and dangerous illness during the time he 
was stationed at St. Helena. I recollect 


perfectly whilst he was ill, under my fa- 
ther's roof, that Napoleon's maitre d'hotel, 
Cipriani, came every day to inquire after 
him. When we saw the emperor, a few 
days after Captain Meynell left us, we told 
him that he had been moved to Planta- 
tion House, where he would have more 
room and better attention than at our cot- 
tage, and that he was so ill as to be obliged 
to be removed in his cot ; he had a re- 
lapse, and his life was despaired of. The 
emperor begged, when next we saw Lady 
Lowe, we would send him word how the 
brave Captain was. 



Hark to the boatswain's call, the cheering cry! 

While through the seaman's hand the tackle glides ; 
Or schoolboy midshipman that, standing by. 

Strains bis shrill pipe, as good or ill betides, 
And Avell the docile crew that skilful urchin guides. 

When mountains tremble, and the birds 

Plunge in the clouds for refuge and wdthdraw 
From their down-toppling nests ; and bello"ning herds 
Stumble o'er heaving plains, and man's dread hath no 

Ye who have known what 'tis to dote upon 
A few dear objects, will in sadness feel 
Such partings break the heart they fondly hope to 
heal. Byron. 



Napoleon was fond of sailors, and liked 
entering into conversation with the young 


miclsliipmen who conducted the fatigue 
parties at Longwood. On one occasion a 
remarkably handsome and high-born young 
reefer attracted his notice, from the activity 
he displayed in setting his men to work 
in erecting a commodious marquee out of 
a studding-sail. He inquired his name, 
and when he heard it was the Honour- 
able G. C, he remarked that he was one 
of the very few instances in which he had 
observed high birth combined with so much 
amiability and intelligence. We told the 
emperor we had the pleasure of being ac- 
quainted with the young middy he so much 
admired, and that he was the most popular 
of any of his young companions in the ward- 
room. I related to the emperor our firSt 
introduction to him, which was on our re- 
turn from the admiral's ball, when we saw 
him elevated in a cart, surrounded by his 
brother middies, shouting at the top of his 
voice, " Lord W.'s carriage stops the way;" 
and true enough the way was stopped, as 

H 3 


the cart had been dragged by some of these 
wild boys within the arch of the castle, 
through which we had all to pass on our 
road homeward. The next time we heard 
of him our sympathies were excited by hear- 
ing he had narrowly escaped being drowned, 
and afterwards being very nearly shot, when 
rowing guard one night. The surf was dan- 
gerously high, compelling his boat to keep 
off shore, and when hailed by the sentry, 
the roaring of the sea against the iron-girt 
rocks, prevented the countersign from being 
heard ; the guard then fired in amongst the 
crew, but our gallant young friend most 
providentially escaped with his life. 

We concluded our history of the middy 
by telling Napoleon, that his talent was 
equally distinguished in performing his 
duties either on sea or land, and that Sir 
Pulteney Malcolm had made a farmer of 
him, entrusting to his management the 
superintendence and cultivation of one of 
the government farms. The admiral de- 


clared he had never before seen such ve- 
getables produced on the sterile rock of St. 
Helena. Napoleon's concluding remark 
was, that " Whatever British sailors took 
in hand, they never left undone." 

When we were visiting Madame Ber- 
trand's, we always passed our Sundays as 
if at home, reading the lessons for the day 
and observing the prayers, &c. One Sun- 
day morning. Napoleon came bustling in, 
and seeing me very earnestly employed 
reading aloud to my sister, asked what I 
was so intently engaged upon, and why I 
looked so much graver than usual. I told 
him I was learning to repeat the collect for 
the day, and that if I failed in saying it, my 
father would be very angry. 1 remarked, 
" I suppose you never learnt a collect or 
any thing religious, for I am told you dis- 
believe the existence of a God." He seemed 
displeased at my observation, and answered, 
" You have been told an untruth ; when you 
are wiser you will understand that no one 


could doubt the existence of a God." My 
mother asked him if he was a predestina- 
rian, as reported. He admitted the truth 
of the accusation, saying, " I believe that 
whatever a man's destiny calls upon him to 
do, that he must fulfil." 

Dr. O'Meara often amused us by recount- 
ing conversations he had with the emperor 
respecting priestcraft : one anecdote is im- 
pressed on my recollection from the amuse- 
ment it afforded. A poor erring monk having 
paid the debt of nature, a funeral oration was 
delivered by a brother priest, to a large as- 
sembled congregation. The holy father pro- 
ceeded to inform the multitude that the soul 
of the departed had had to appear before the 
judgment-seat, there to render an account of 
all its past actions ; that being done, the 
evil and the good were then separated and 
thrown into opposite scales, in order to see 
which preponderated. The good deeds were 
so few, that the scale flew up, and the poor 
soul was condemned to the regions below. 


and conducted by de\ils to Eblis' dread 
abode, there to be tormented with " fire 
unquenched, unquenchable — around, within 
his form to dwell." The flame had reached 
his feet and legs, and was proceeding to 
envelope his wretched body, when he, sink- 
ing into the bottomless pit Math but his 
head aboVe the liquid fire, cried out, "Oh! 
my patron saint, save me ! take compassion 
on me, and throw into the scale of my 
good deeds all the lime and stone that I 
gave to repair the convent." His saint 
listened to the supplications of the tortured 
one, and gathering all the materials the 
monk had collected to build and adorn his 
monastery, did as he desired, and threw 
them into the scale of good, which imme- 
diately had the effect of overbalancing the 
evil, and the sinner's soul was taken to Pa- 
radise that moment. The moral meant to 
be conveyed was, hoAv useful to that poor 
sinner's eternal salvation was his having 
kept his convent in repair ; for had he not 


bestowed all that lime and stone, his soul 
would have been to this day consuming in 
the fires prepared for the Devil and his an- 

Billiards was a game much played by 
Napoleon and his suite. I had the honour 
of being instructed in its mysteries by him ; 
but when tired of my lesson, my amuse- 
ment consisted in aiming the balls at his 
fingers, and I was never more pleased than 
when I succeeded in making him cry out. 
One day our pass from Sir Hudson Lowe 
only specified a visit to General Bertrand, 
but my anxiety to see Napoleon, caused me 
to break through the rule laid down, and 
the consequences of my imprudence were 
nearly proving very serious, as my father 
all but lost the appointment he then held 
under government. I had caught sight of 
the emperor in his favourite billiard-room, 
and not being able to resist having a game 
with him, I listened to no remonstrance, 
but bounded off, leaving my father in dis- 


may at the consequences likely to ensue. 
Instead of my anticipated game of throwing 
about the balls, I was requested to read a 
book, by Dr. Warden, the surgeon of the 
" Northumberland," that had just come out. 
It was in English, and I had the task of 
wading through several chapters, and mak- 
ing it as intelligible as my ungrammatical 
French permitted. Napoleon was much 
pleased with Dr. Warden's book, and said, 
" his work was a very true one." I finished 
reading it to him whilst we remained with 
Madame Bertrand. 

In the cool of the evening we used to 
have chairs brought out and placed on the 
lawn leading to the billiard-room, under 
the gum-wood trees, and the Countesses 
Bertrand and Montholon, with their hus- 
bands and children, my sister and myself, 
would remain for hours after sunset listen- 
ing to the thousand crickets with which 
the ground at Longwood seemed alive. 
The moonhght nights were remarkably 


beautiful at St. Helena ; the blue of the sky 
so deep and clear, that it would be difficult 
to imagine any scene more solemn and im- 
posing than the appearance presented by 
the landscape on such occasions. Either the 
stars shine brighter in that firmament, and 
the moon seems fuller and more lustrous, 
or it may be that the recollection of those 
joyous days had no cloud to dim their ra- 
diance. It "was on one of these splendid 
starry nights, and at the time we were on 
a visit to Madame Bertrand, that the party 
was grouped about, some seated on the 
steps of the billiard-room, others in the 
garden enjoying the cool refreshing breeze. 
The day had been one of the most sultry 
ever experienced within the recollection of 
the oldest inhabitant of St. Helena. Sud- 
denly we heard a lumbering heavy noise, as 
if loaded waggons were rumbling over the 
ground immediately under us. Those seated 
near the billiard room sprang up aghast, 
thinking the house was falling about their 


ears. Dr. O'Meara and Major Blakeney, 
who was appointed captain of the guard at 
Longwood, rushed immediately from their 
rooms, expecting to find the ladies half dead 
with fear. All the household, some of whom 
were in bed, ran out in the greatest alarm ; 
some were gazing up at the sky, others look- 
ing stupified with wonder and amazement 
as to what had caused such a commotion. 
Little Tristram Montholon, who had some 
time previously retired to rest, came scream- 
ing to his mother, declaring that somebody 
had been trying to throw him out of bed. 
The cause of our terror proved to be an 
earthquake, the only one remembered to 
have occurred at St. Helena for nearly a 
century. The horror this event occasioned 
us all, can only be conceived by those who 
are acquainted with the island ; more espe- 
cially was the alarm felt by those whose 
friends and relatives were residing in any 
of the valleys, so narrow and wedge-like in 
their form, and flanked, as they generally 


were, by tremendous overhanging preci- 
pices, at the summit of which enormous 
loose rocks threatened continual destruc- 
tion to those who were beneath. It was 
observed at the time, that had the shocks 
been lateral, instead of perpendicular, those 
who resided in the valleys must have been 
destroyed by the vast boulders of stone 
which would have fallen from the moun- 
tains above. Napoleon had retired to bed, 
and it was not till the next morning that 
we saw him. He asked us if we had been 
frightened by the tremhlement de terre on the 
previous evening, observing that I looked 
pale and quiet He mentioned to General 
Bertrand that he at first thought the " Con- 
queror," a 74 lying in the harbour, had 
blown up, and that the great powder maga- 
zine had exploded, but on feeling the third 
shock he perceived it to be an earthquake. 
It lasted from 16 to 18 seconds. Many 
people fancied the rumbling noise they at 
first heard to be thunder, but when it was 


remembered that such a phenomenon as 
thunder* was never heard, nor had light- 
ning ever been seen since the discovery 
of St. Helena, that idea was abandoned. 
Thunder and lightning have never been 
known to disturb the harmony of the cli- 
mate. To account for this, it is said that 
the electric fluid is attracted by a high and 
conical-shaped mountain, called Diana's 
Peak, and conducted by it into the sea. 
I was too much alarmed after the occur- 
rence of the earthquake to go to bed for 
many nights. 

Seeing me one day unusually low-spi- 
rited. Napoleon inquired what could possi- 
bly have happened to drive away the dim- 
ples from my usually riant face. " Has any 
one run away with a favourite prote da bal, 
or is the pet black nurse, old Sarah, dead ! 
What can have occurred?" I told him it 

* It is mentioned in Brooks's History of St. Helena, 
there had been two shocks of earthquakes in the 
island during the years 1756 and 1782. 


was neither one thing nor the other, but 
simply that our kind lady governess, Mrs. 
Wilks*, had left the island, and such de- 
monstrations of grief had never before been 
seen at St. Helena. She was so beloved, 
people of all ranks and ages crowded to 
the castle to say, " God bless you, and a 
safe and happy voyage home." Not a dry 
eye was to be seen amongst the crowd then 
collected; that leave-taking of our much 
loved and respected governor and his fa- 
mily resembled more a funeral than a 
levee ; so sad and solemn was every face. 
I fancy I can see them now, following the 
party to the beach as they embarked in 
the barge that conducted them on board 
the Havannah ; and when the noble frigate 
spread her canvass to the swelling breeze 
that bore from the little rock those who had 
contributed so much to the happiness of its 
gratefully impressed inhabitants, groups of 

* Mrs. Wilks, now Mrs. Blamire, the wife of the 
late M.P. for the countv of Cumberland. 


sorrow-stricken ladies were seen wandering 
under the pepul trees of the Sisters' Walk 
watching the vessel as she lessened from 
their tearful gaze, bearing on board a fa- 
mily who had rendered themselves so po- 
pular by their urbanity and kindness, which 
is even remembered to this day. I recount- 
ed the scene we had witnessed (and suffered 
with the rest) to the emperor ; he was quite 
interested in the recital, and regretted much 
not having been acquainted with the lady 
governess, as she must have been so very 

Napoleon's hour for rising was uncertain ; 
though generally early, it much depended 
on the rest he took during the day, or the 
sultry state of the weather ; occasionally he 
would sleep for an hour or two on the 
bench under our trelliced grape walk at 
the " Briars," and when he awoke refreshed, 
would write or dictate away for hours to- 
gether. Sometimes he would diversify his 
occupation by riding round our lawn on his 


beautiful black horse " Hope." The name 
pleased him ; it was the first he had rid- 
den on the island, and he liked the au- 
gury. After his long daij sleeps he T\ould 
coui't the drowsy god at night by desiring 
Marchand to read to him until the " sweet 
restorer, nature's soft nurse," came to his 
aid. Frequently, when the nights were 
illumined by the splendid tropical moon, 
would he rise at three o'clock, and saunter 
down to the garden long before old Toby, 
the slave, had slept off his first nap, and 
there he would regale himself with an 
early breakfast of delicious fi'uits with 
which our garden abounded. Our old 
Malay was so fond of the man Bony, as 
he designated the emperor, that he al- 
ways placed the garden key where Na- 
poleon's fingers could reach it under the 
wicket. No one else was ever favoured in 
the like manner, but he had completely 
fascinated and won the old man's heart, 
and Napoleon looked upon Toby with a 


kind of romantic interest, as one who had 
been cruelly wronged in his youthful career. 
After these early risings, he generally fasted 
until eleven, when he would breakfast a la 
fourchette with his suite; he usually ate 
very fast, but did not admire highly sea- 
soned dishes. He preferred a roasted leg 
of mutton to any other English joint, and 
I have often seen him take the knuckle in 
his hand and pare off all the brown part 
of it. 

Napoleon had some very beautiful seals 
and rare coins, fi-om which he good-na- 
turedly employed himself in taking off im- 
pressions in sealing-wax. Whilst he was 
thus engaged, I once mischievously jogged 
his elbow, and caused him to drop the 
hot wax on his fingers. It was very pain- 
ful, and raised a large blister; but he was 
so very good-natured about it, that I told 
him I was quite sorry for what I had 
done ; whereas, had he been cross, I should 
have rejoiced. 



And thou dread statue ! yet existent in 
The austerest form 

Our nation's foes lament on Fox's death. 

A bust delay'd, a book refused, can shake 
The sleep of him who kept the world a\A-ake. 





It was not long after Napoleon had been 
at Longwood, that chance took him in one 
of his rides to a romantic glen named "The 
Friar's Valley," a wildly picturesque spot, 
so called from the peculiar formation of 
a huge rock fashioned by nature's hand 
into the figure of a monk with his cowl 


thrown back, dressed in flowing robes, 
with a rosary at his side. He forms a 
peenhar feature in the grotesque scenery 
with which great part of the island abounds; 
that immediately around it, consisting of 
stupendous sterile rocks, detached by deep 
and frightful ravines, some rising perpen- 
dicularly many hundred feet; and here and 
there are seen bare masses of stone tower- 
ing aloft, with flowering aloes bursting forth 
from fissures in their iron coloured sides. 
I have endeavoured to convey, in the an- 
nexed sketch, some faint idea of this ro- 
mantic though desolate looking valley. 
Napoleon had heard of the legend connect- 
ed with it, and asked me if I had ever seen 
the " Will-o'-the-Wisp," which he was 
told lighted the old friar's lantern. I said 
I had been often frightened by it, for when 
quite a little child, my mother, thinking 
the air on the mountains purer than that of 
St. James's Valley, generally sent me thi- 
ther under the care of an old negro nurse, 



who resided in a little cottage directly 
overlooking the vale. Oftentimes would 
she threaten, if I did not repeat my letters 
correctly, to give me to the monk, who 
would carry me off in his lantern. 

I perfectly recollect how heartily the 
emperor laughed at my describing the 
tricks I played old Sarah. I had a box of 
letters, which it was her daily duty to see 
me arrange and place in alphabetical or- 
der : my great fun was to turn them topsy- 
turvy, at the same time keeping them quite 
straight. When I placed them properli/, I 
arranged them unevenly ; but the dear old 
luirse, who did not understand a letter in 
her alphabet, was certain to commend me 
for the neat arrangement I had effected ; 
but I was threatened with the friar when 
my lesson presented an untidy appearance, 
however right it might be. 

The story attached to the valley was this. 
The place where the friar now stands, was 
supposed once to have been the site of a 


Roman Catholic chapel, adjoining which 
was the residence of the officiating priest, 
a monk of the Franciscan order, who was 
considered an example of Christian piety 
and humility, his life being passed in the 
performance of acts of charity and benevo- 
lence, such as attending the sick, relieving 
the oppressed ; and often did he interpose 
his charitable interference between the se- 
vere taskmaster and his wretched slaves, 
when the latter were condemned for some 
trifling offence to undergo fearful mutila- 
tions or the cruel lash. Thus in acts of 
piety this man of God pursued his way, 
blessing and blessed, till his senses became 
enthralled by the surpassing beauty of a 
mountain nymph, who dwelt in a cottage 
not far removed from the friar's lonely iia- 
bitation. It was in one of his rambles in 
search of some object of charity that his 
eyes first encountered this lovely daughter 
of the Atlantic isle, tending a herd of her 
father s mountain goats ; they had strayed 

I 2 


SO far that she had vainly tried to collect 
them, and was returning tired and sad 
to her dwelling, when, encountering the 
monk, she humbly told her tale, and asked 
his assistance. It was readily accorded, for 
who could resist such an appeal, enhanced 
by so much beauty ? The scattered flock 
was reunited, and the young girl, gracefully 
acknowledging his service, with a light heart 
returned to her home. It would have been 
well for the good father had that interview 
been the last, but fate ordained it other- 
wise. Again and again he sought her 
mountain cot, pouring into the maiden's ear 
his tale of love and adoration, and finally 
besought her to be his bride. She promised, 
but on one condition only, to listen to his 
suit — he must renounce his creed, and be- 
come of her faith : upon these terms alone 
would she consent, and until he had re- 
solved thus to prove his devotion, must not 
hope to see her again. The struggle was a 
fearful one in the breast of the monk ; 


but love triumphed in the end : he forsook 
the faith of his fathers, broke his vows, and 
became a renegade. In due course of time 
the wedding-day was fixed : the ceremony 
was to be performed in that very chapel 
which had so often re-echoed the apostate's 
pious prayers for his suffering flock, and the 
bride, accompanied by her attendant maid- 
ens, approached the altar. The service 
was read, and just as the bridegroom was 
clasping the hand of his beloved, a fearful 
crash resounded, the rock was rent asunder, 
and every vestige of the chapel, and of 
those it contained, for ever disappeared. 
In its place stands the gaunt image of the 
grim friar, — an example and a sad warning 
to those who suffer their evil passions to 
prevail over their better judgment. 

I remember one morning seeing the 
emperor much moved ; he had been exhi- 
biting a marble bust of the King of Rome, 
which had been sent to him by the Em- 
press Marie Louise. He took us into his 
bedroom to inspect them, and we were 


loud in our praises of the beauty of the 
child who could have furnished the sculptor 
with so attractive a subject for his classical 
art. Napoleon gazed on it with proud sa- 
tisfaction, and was evidently much delighted 
at our warm encomiums upon its loveli- 
ness. My mother told him he ought in- 
deed to exult at being the father of such a 
beautiful creature as that boy must be. 
Smiles seemed to light up his face, and my 
mother often said, she never saw a counte- 
nance at the time so interestingly expres- 
sive of parental fondness. The bust of the 
young Napoleon was the size of life, exqui- 
sitely chiselled in white marble ; and on it 
was inscribed " Napoleon Francois Charles 
Joseph," &c., it bore the decoration of the 
Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour. It 
was sent mysteriously to Napoleon, and 
arrived in charge of a sailor, who had re- 
ceived it through the orders of Marie 
LouisQ : the sculptor resided at Leghorn, 
and the empress had it conveyed to the 
gunner of a ship bound for St. Helena, (it 


was said,) as a silent token of her regard and 
unchanged affection for the ex-emperor. 

When we had seen and admired this 
treasure, Madame Bertrand invited us to 
accompany her, and be charmed by the 
exhibition of a variety of presents from 
Lady Holland, which had been sent out 
and had arrived only a few days before. 
They oiFered a rich feast to my eyes ; such an 
assemblage of beautiful trinkets I had never 
beheld, and I viewed them again and again 
in an ecstasy of delight. 

Lady Holland was very kind to Mes- 
dames Bertrand and Montholon, especially 
to the former ; and many were the grateful 
prayers I have heard her offer for the happi- 
ness of that excellent lady, who evinced such 
true charity in displaying so many consider- 
ate attentions, which could not but be high- 
ly appreciated under such circumstances. 
Napoleon, when speaking of her ladyship, 
always called her " La bonne Lady Hol- 
land," and expressed himself very gTateful 


for her kindness and attention to him, when 
abandoned by the world in that desolate 
island. He remarked, that all the mem- 
bers of the family of the great Fox abound- 
ed in liberal and generous sentiments. In 
speaking of that statesman he used to say, 
" He was sincere and honest in his inten- 
tions, and had he lived, England would not 
have been desolated by war ; he was the 
only minister who knew the interests of his 
country." He said he was received with a 
kind of triumph in every city of the French 
empire, and feted and welcomed by all its 
inhabitants. Every town he visited seemed 
to vie with the other which should offer 
him the greatest honours. He related a 
circumstance which, he said, must have 
made a gratifying impression on the mind 
of that great man. One day Fox visited 
St. Cloud. The private apartments of the 
palace there were never shown, being ex- 
clusively kept for the use of the emperor ; 
however, by some accident the minister 


and Mrs. Fox opened one of the doors of 
the sanctum, and entered ; there they be- 
held statues of the great men of all times 
and nations — Sydney, Hampden, Washing- 
ton, Cicero, Lord Chatham, and amongst 
the rest his own, which was instantly re- 
cognised by his lady, who exclaimed, " My 
dear, this is yours." This little incident, 
though trifling, procured him great atten- 
tions, and spread directly through Paris. 

I 8 



He that has sail'd upon the dark blue sea, 
Has view'd at times, I ween, a full fair sight ; 

When the fresh breeze is fair as breeze may be, 
The white sail set, the gallant frigate tight. Byron. 





I RECOLLECT being at Longwood one beau- 
tiful day ; the atmosphere had that peculiar 
lightness and brilliancy which in a great 
measure constituted the charm of the cli- 
mate of St. Helena. The sea lay glistening 
in the sun like a sheet of quicksilver, the lit- 
tle merry waves bursting in sparkling foam 
at the foot of the stupendous rocks, and 
the exquisite soft verdure immediately sur- 
rounding Longwood formed a very pleas- 


ing contrast to the stern features of the 
rest of the island. It was one of those 
days in which the past and the future are 
alike disregarded ; anxious thought is sus- 
pended for a moment, and the present 
alone is felt and enjoyed. I remember 
bounding up to St. Dennis and asking for 
Napoleon ; my joyousness was somewhat 
damped by the gravity with which he 
replied, that the emperor was watching 
the approach of the "Conqueror," then 
coming in, bearing the flag of Admiral 
Pamplin. " You will find him," he said, 
" near Madame Bertrand's, but he is in 
no mood for badinage to-day, Mademoi- 
selle." Notwithstanding this check, I pro- 
ceeded towards the cottage, and in a mo- 
ment the whole tone of my mind was 
changed from gaiety to sadness. Young 
as I was, I could not help being strongly 
impressed by the intense melancholy of 
his expression ; " the ashes of a thousand 
thoughts were on his brow ;" he was stand- 


ing with General Bertrand, his eyes bent 
sadly on the 74, which was yet but a speck 
in the line of the horizon. The magnifi- 
cent ship soon grew upon our sight, as, 
beating up to windward, silently yet proudly 
she pursued her brave career. " Sailing 
amid the loneliness, like a thing endowed 
with heart and mind," she seemed the very 
impersonation of majesty! Byron thought 
the ocean, with a single vessel moving over 
it, the most poetical object in nature ; per- 
haps its utter loneliness is the cause. 
The thought has since occurred to me, 
that Napoleon might then have gazed 
upon that ship as typical of his own for- 
tunes, so lordly, yet mastered, and impelled 
by some unseen resistless power towards 
that wild shore destined to be the tomb of 
all his daring hopes and mad ambition. Such 
spirits are undoubtedly sent into the world 
by an omniscient Providence for a benefi- 
cent and merciful purpose; their fiery 
course is run; they would still urge on, but 


their headlong rashness may be made the 
instrument of their ruin, and the stern hand 
of death arrest them before they have 
tasted of that earthly glory for which they 
toiled ; their deeds, however, still live, and 
become often benefits to mankind, though 
sj^ringing from an evil source. 

The emjDeror, after a long silence, com- 
mented on the beautiful management of 
the vessel. " The English are kings upon 
the sea," he said, and then, smiling some- 
what sarcastically, added, " I wonder what 
they think of our beautiful island ; they 
cannot be much elated by the sight of 
my gigantic prison walls!" His natural 
prejudice against th island rendered him 
blind to the many beauties with which it 
abounded ; he beheld all with a jaundiced 
eye : thus ever do our views of life take 
their colouring from our feelings and the 
nature of the circumstances in Avhich we 
are placed. " Our eyes see all around 
in gloom with hues of their own, fresh 


borrowed from the heart." He would fre- 
quently rail at this island in no measured 
language ; I always defended it in propor- 
tionate terms of praise. Sometimes he 
laughed at my impertinence, and at others 
he would pinch my ear, and ask me how I 
could possibly dare to have an opinion on 
the subject. 

The emperor had that great charm in 
social life, of being amused and interested 
in matters of trifling import. It seems 
to me to be an attribute of his country- 
men, from which, no doubt, they derive 
that vivacity and talent de societe gene- 
rally possessed by them, but which, from 
our inherent reserve and national shy- 
ness, would sit awkwardly on us, English. 
It would be something like the statue 
of Hercules in the National Gallery 
stepping from his pedestal and taking 
Cerito's place in the "Pas de I'Ombre." 
Napoleon was very fond of extracting from 
me my little store of knowledge, acquired 


from, I fear, rather desultory reading. 
However, being fond of books, and having 
a retentive memory, I could apparently 
chain his interest for some hours. " Now, 
Mademoiselle Betsee," he would say, " I 
hope you have been goot child and learnt 
all your lesson ;" which he said purposely 
to annoy me, as I was anxious to be thought 
full grown, and, like most young ladies of 
my age, scorned the idea of being called a 
child, deeming myself fully competent to 
embark upon the troublous sea of life, 
and to battle with its storms without the 
rudder of experience. He was much in- 
terested in a favourite study of mine, 
namely, the account of the discovery and 
colonization of St. Helena by the Por- 
tuguese, and he would listen attentively 
while I repeated it, for I had it almost by 

My young brother, Alexander, had a pet 
goat, of which he was very fond, and the 
animal used to draw him about in a little 


carriage. One day Napoleon had given 
him a little box, made by Piron, full of 
bon-bons: when my brother had eaten all 
his sugar-plums, and was grieving over his 
exhausted store, he unluckily chanced to 
espy a pill-box, which, with other medicines, 
had been inadvertently placed on a bench 
in the garden ; he carefully put some of its 
contents into his bonbonniere, and gravely 
walking up to the emperor, presented it. 
Napoleon, always good-natured to the 
child, and supposing them to be sugar- 
plums, helped himself to one, and began 
eating it. I need not say how soon it was 
ejected, and what coughing and nausea en- 
sued, when my little brother's mischievous 
trick was divulged, and it was found that 
pills of a very unpalatable nature had 
been offered to and swallowed by the em- 
peror. The poor little fellow got soundly 
whipped by my father, to whom his naughty 
conduct had been made known by Las 
Cases, who witnessed the joke and im- 


mediately reported it ; he knew my father 
to be too severe a disciplinarian to over- 
look even a trifling fault. 

My father had been suffering from a 
veiy violent attack of gout, which pre- 
vented his riding to Longwood, as was 
his daily habit. When he saw Napoleon 
after his recovery, the emperor began 
laughing at him, and told him, if he sat a 
shorter time after dinner, he would have 
fewer attacks of gout. He asked him what 
remedies he had resorted to to be cured. 
My father replied, he had taken " Eau 
medicinale," upon which Napoleon laugh- 
ingly remarked, had he drank more pure 
water and less wine he might have dispens- 
ed with the eau medicinale. He told him 
he was too young to want physic, as re- 
medies ought only to be resorted to by the 
old. In speaking of his own abstemious 
habits, he observed that he drank very 
little wine; however, the little he did 
drink was absolutely taken medicinally. 


and he always found himself better after 
it, feeling convinced that if he left it off, he 
should soon become ill. One of his prin- 
cipal specifics was a warm salt water bath. 
Mr. O'Meara told us that having recom- 
mended Napoleon a dose of medicine, 
soon after he came to St. Helena, he an- 
swered him by a slap in the face, and told 
him if he were not better on the morrow, 
he should have recourse to his own re- 
medy — abstinence and a bath. He was 
very fond of asking anatomical questions, 
and often fancied he had disease of the 
heart, and made O'Meara count its pulsa- 
tions. He constantly complained of ill- 
ness from the exposed situation of Long- 
wood, the wind continually beating in his 
face, or the sun scorching his brain ; he 
used to observe, when at the Briars, that 
he never suffered anv ailment, for there he 
had shady and sheltered walks. Certainly 
Longwood was very bleak, and scarcely 
any vegetables would grow upon it, except 


a kind of coarse cow-grass, which even 
horses refuse. 

A long interval fi'equently elapsed be- 
tween our visits to the emperor. A few 
months previously to our leaving St. He- 
lena he had been very ill, and from Mr. 
O'Meara's account we feared he might 
never rally from the state of prostration 
of mind and body into which he had sunk. 
He was obstinate in refusing to take ex- 
ercise, disliking the strict watch kept 
over him on the occasion of his walk- 
ing abroad ; and he declared he would 
rather die at once than use the only means 
recommended of alleviating his disorder. 
Mr. O'Meara entreated permission to call 
in a brother surgeon, that in the event 
of his complaint continuing obstinate, 
blame might not be attached to him 
for trusting solely to his own opinion. I 
recollect hearing Mr. O'Meara repeat the 
emperor's reply, which was to this effect ; 
" that if all the physicians in the universe 


were collected, they would but repeat what 
you have already advised me — to take con- 
stant exercise on horseback. I am well 
aware of the truth of what you say, but 

were I to call in Mr. , it would be 

but like sending a physician to a starving 
man, instead of giving him a loaf of bread. 
I have no objection to your making known 
to him my state of health, if it be any satis- 
faction to you ; but I know that he will 
say — exercise. As long as this strict sur- 
veillance is enforced I will never stir out." 
It was in vain, Dr. O'Meara again and 
again urged the subject, his invariable re- 
ply was, " Would you have me render 
myself liable to be stopped and insulted 
by the sentries surrounding my house, as 
Madame Bertrand was some days ago ? " 
It would have made a fine caricature in 
the London print shops, — Napoleon Bona- 
parte stopped at the gate by a sentinel 
charging him with fixed bayonet. How the 
Londoners would have laughed ! The only 


one of his suite who appeared careless of 
these restrictions was General Gourgaud ; 
he had been stopped, Napoleon observed, 
fifty times. Once, when at the Briars, he 
said, he had been treated rather unceremo- 
niously by a sentry, and complaints being 
made to the Admiral, that officer was 
really displeased about it, and took every 
precaution to prevent a recurrence of such 

When we saw Napoleon after this ill- 
ness, the havoc and change it had made in 
his appearance was sad to look upon. His 
face was literally the colour of yellow wax, 
and his cheeks had fallen in jjouches on 
either side his face. His ancles were so 
swollen that the flesh literally hung over his 
shoes ; he was so weak, that w-ithout rest- 
ing one hand on a table near him, and 
the other on the shoulder of an attend- 
ant, he could not have stood. I was 
so grieved at seeing him in such a pitiable 
state, that my eyes overflowed with tears, 
and I could with difficulty forbear sobbing 


aloud. He saw how shocked we were, 
and tried to make light of it, saying, he 
was sure the good O'Meara would soon 
cure him ; but my mother observed, when 
we had left, that death was stamped on 
every feature. He, however, rallied from 
this attack, to pass nearly three more years 
in hopeless misery ; for it became niore 
evident to him that the anticipation in 
which he indulged (on first coming to St. 
Helena) of quitting the island, became 
fainter as health declined, and time wore 

The emperor expressed much curiosity 
to be introduced to a Mr. Manning who 
had arrived at St. Helena on his voyage to 
England from China, which country he had 
visited after exploring the unknown, and 
at that time, untravelled, kingdom of Thi- 
bet. Napoleon said he had a great cu- 
riosity to hear something relating to their 
mode of worshipping the Grand Lama, as 
he was induced to believe most of the ac- 
counts he had read and heard of it were 


fabulous. I described the impression Mr. 
Manning had made on me by his imposing 
appearance ; his dress was like that of a 
Mandarin, and he wore a long black beard 
which reached to his waist. He bad, dur- 
ing the war, been a prisoner in France, 
and had been treated with great clemency 
by Napoleon ; thus was each party an- 
xious to see the other. Mr. jManninof had 
brought many very curious j^resents for 
Napoleon, which he had collected in his 
travels. He obtained a pass to see the 
emperor ; he said he had been presented 
to the Lama, who was a very intelligent 
boy of seven years old ; that he had gone 
through the same forms as the other wor- 
shippers who were admitted to the celes- 
tial presence. Napoleon asked him if he 
were not afraid of being seized as a spy. 
The traveller did not seem pleased that the 
emperor should have thought that his ap- 
pearance could have conveyed such an im- 
pression ; but he laughingly pointed to his 
beard and dress, and seemed much diverted 


with his interview. He could not think 
how they, jealous as they were in their re- 
ligious rites, should have admitted an un- 
believer into their sacred temple, and have 
permitted him to approach the Lama. Mr. 
Manning said he honoured and respected 
all religions, as did Napoleon. 

The emperor wished to know if he had 
passed for an Englishman, as the shape of 
his nose was too good for a Tartar. Mr. 
Manning replied, that he had been taken for 
a Hindoo, which, from the regularity of his 
features and fine eyes, might easily have 
been the case. Napoleon told him that 
travellers were privileged to tell marvel- 
lous stories, and he hoped he was not 
doing so in relating the wonders of Thibet. 
He wanted to know if it were true that 
the revenues of the Grand Lama were 
derived from the gifts of the multitudes 
that daily flocked from all parts to worship 
at his shrine, as well as from priestly ex- 
tortion. Manning told the emperor it 


was quite true, and complimented him 
upon being as well informed as the travel- 
ler himself. The Lama was subject to the 
Chinese ; he never married, neither did 
his priest ; the body into which, ac- 
cording to their belief, the spirit passed, 
was found out by the priests from certain 
signs. Napoleon's conference with the tra- 
veller lasted some time ; he asked a thou- 
sand questions respecting the Chinese, their 
language, customs, &c. When the inter- 
view was concluded, he observed it had 
given him greater pleasure than he had 
experienced for many long months. 



Uusepulclired they roam'd, and sbriek'd each wan- 
derinor orliost. 




Upon one occasion, Sir George Bingham 
gave a grand ball to all the people on the 
island, as a sort of return for civilities 
shewn to him and his officers of the 53rd 
regiment. It was the prettiest thing of the 
kind and the best one I ever remember either 
before or since; and as the scene of revel was 
close toLongwood,wewere told the emperor 
had the cm-iosity to take a peep at it incog. 
I verily believe he had, fi-om the faithful 
and animated detail he entered into re- 
specting it the next day, and his criticisms 


upon dancing, dress, &c. The first attempt 
at waltzing was made on that occasion in 
the Saraband, and he took off a certain 
young lady's graceless movements so inimi- 
tably, that we felt sure he had indulged 
himself with a peep. 

Sir G. Cockburn had a beautiful dog of 
the Newfoundland breed, which was a 
great favourite, both from its beauty and 
docility. It was very fond of accompanying 
its noble master whenever he honoured the 
Briars with a visit, for the place abounded 
with ponds and rivulets, in which Tom 
Pipes delighted to swim and cool himself 
after following at the horses' heels up the 
mountain, under a sultry tropical sun. One 
time, as Napoleon was engaged making 
notes in the garden of the Briars, close to 
a large pond full of gold and silver fish, I 
called the dog to have a gambol and refi"esh 
himself with a bath, well knowing his cus- 
tom was to shake his huge sides after duck- 
ing, and then woe betide the person nearest 

K 2 


Lim whilst this operation was performing, 
they were sure to have their clothes com- 
pletely saturated. Such was now the case ; 
for Pipes enjoyed his bath immensely, and 
dived and ducked about, much to the con- 
sternation of the gold and silver fish. When 
he thought he had had enough, he scrambled 
up the bank, took his place by the emperor's 
side, who was so much absorbed by his 
employment as to be unaware of the shower 
bath in store for him, and it was not until 
a vigorous shake of the dog, and a plentiful 
besprinkling all over dress and person, that 
he found out the mischief of which I had 
been the cause. The paper on which he 
had written was spoiled, and he presented 
a very deplorable figure himself. It was 
impossible to help laughing, although he 
was very angry, for Tom Pipes would not 
go away ; he had been a shipmate of Na- 
poleon's on board the Northumberland, 
and was so glad to see him again, that he 


kept jumping on him with his wet paws, 
thereby adding mud to wet and dust. 

One morning as we were walking, or ra- 
ther scrambling, among the rocks that close 
in the waterfall near the Briars, we espied 
something hanging over the ledge of a 
rock above us which had the appearance 
of a soldier in his uniform: the height was 
so great, and the precipice so perpendicular, 
that it was an utter impossibility for us to 
attempt scaling it to ascertain what it could 
be ; but still it looked so strange, and the 
position of the man (if man it were) so pe- 
rilous, that we determined on returning to 
the cottage to send forth some one of bolder 
heart and steadier nerves than our party 
possessed, who might throw a light upon 
the mysterious occupant of the rocky ledge. 
On our way, we encountered Count Las 
Cases and the emperor, whose curiosity had 
also been directed to the object which had 
excited our attention ; he had seen it from 
his pavilion, and was reconnoitring it with 


his little spy-glass, the same with which he 
viewed the battle of Waterloo. We asked 
him what he thought it could be ; he 
looked grave, and replied, we had better 
return to the house and remain there for 
a time, as we might probably be shocked 
at a scene which he doubted not would 
soon present itself. He had discovered, by 
the aid of his glass, that the object which 
had raised our curiosity, was the corpse of 
a soldier, who must have met his death by 
some dreadful accident ; his conjecture was 
soon ascertained to be too true. A soldier 
had obtained leave of absence the night be- 
fore for a few hours, and was to have been 
back by sunset. He outstayed his leave, be- 
guiling time with some old comrades, and 
had perhaps indulged too freely at the shrine 
of Bacchus. But be that as it may, on find- 
ing he had exceeded his time, and being 
well aware of the severe discipline necessa- 
rily maintained at this time on the island, 
he had tried to reach his barrack by a short 


cut, missed his footing, and was precipitated 
over the ledge, falling from a height of at 
least one hundred feet. We were all in a 
state of the most painful excitement during 
the ceremony of the coroner's inquest which 
was held on the dead man. I recollect 
Napoleon did not lose that occasion of hint- 
ing to my father, that if the poor soldier had 
sat less time after dinner he probably would 
not have met with so dreadful a fate. 

About that time there was quite a 
chapter of tragical accidents, one of which 
has flashed on my mind. My young bro- 
ther had a kind of tutor, faute de mieucT, a 
curious character, whose name was Huff; 
he had been an inhabitant of the island I 
believe at that time nearly half a century. 
This old man, since the arrival of Napo- 
leon, had taken many strange fancies into 
his brain ; among others, that he was des- 
tined to restore the fallen hero to his pris- 
tine glory, and that he could at any time 
free him from thraldom. All argument 


with this old man upon the folly of his 
ravings was useless; he still persisted in 
it, and it soon became evident that old 
Huft' was mad, and, though strictly watched, 
he found an opportunity one fatal morning 
to destroy himself An inquest was held 
on him, felo de se returned as verdict, (for 
there was much method evinced in his 
madness,) and his body was ordered to be 
interred in the spot where three cross roads 
met. The nearest to the scene where the 
act was committed was the road leadingr 
to the Briars, and there they buried the 
old man. 

I had amongst many other follies a ter- 
ror of ghosts, and this weakness was well 
known to the emperor, who, for a consider- 
able time after the suicide of poor Huff, 
used to frighten me nearly into fits. Every 
night, just before my hour of retiring to my 
room, he would call out, " Miss Betsee, ole 
Hutf, ole Huff." The misery of those nights 
I shall never forget ; I used generally to 


fly out of my bed during the night, and 
scramble into my mother's room, and re- 
main there till morning's light dispelled 
the terrors of darkness. 

One evening, when my mother, my sis- 
ter and myself were quietly sitting in the 
porch of the cottage, enjoying the coolness 
of the night breeze, suddenly we heard a 
noise, and turning round beheld a figure in 
white — how I screamed. We were then 
greeted with a low gruff laugh, which my 
mother instantly knew to be the emperor's. 
She turned the white covering, and under- 
neath appeared the black visage of a little 
servant of ours, whom Napoleon had insti- 
gated to frighten Miss Betsee, while he 
was himself a spectator of the effect of his 
trick. This pleasantry of Napoleon's gave 
rise soon after to a ghost scene, which was 
enacted to the life by one of our runaway 
slaves, of the name of Alley ; he had been 
missing for many weeks, and had eluded 
all search. Pigs, poultry, bread, all the 

K 3 

202 RECOLLECTIONS OF [cH. xvir. 

contents of the larder nightly disappeared, 
no one knew how ; but the servants affirm- 
ed that a figure in white was seen hovering 
around the valley, and skipping from rock 
to rock ; they were so alarmed, none would 
venture out singly. Days and weeks went 
on, Napoleon's cook complaining, in com- 
mon with ours, of depredations committed 
on his cuisine ; and not having the benefit 
of a market to replace the loss, it was a 
matter of no small annoyance. I firmly 
believed it to be Huff's ghost, and became 
quite ill from sleepless nights, being lite- 
rally afraid to close my eyes. At length, 
after repeated unsuccessful watching, my 
father and some friends saw a figure steal- 
ing along the valley which led towards the 
house; they watched it uninterruptedly, 
until it appeared within hail, and upon re- 
ceiving no answer to their challenge, they 
fired in the direction. A scream soon told 
the effect of their shot. Hastening to the 
spot, they beheld a negro slave, whom they 


discovered to be the runaway Alley. Tlie 
poor boy was much hurt, though not mor- 
tally. When daylight came they repaired 
to his haunt, which was the most inge- 
niously contrived cave, nature ever formed ; 
imperceptible until you came close to it, 
the entrance being low, and covered by a 
sheltering rock. There he had lived for 
weeks, close to his master, and had nightly 
prowled about, lightening our larders, and 
robbing the hen roosts. 

Napoleon entered the cave with us, and 
seemed much diverted at the piles of bones 
collected and neatly arranged by the slave, 
after he had disposed of their various inte- 
guments. He said it reminded him of one 
of the catacombs in Paris. 

I recollect exhibiting to Napoleon a cari- 
cature of him in the act of climbing a ladder, 
each step he ascended represented some 
vanquished country ; at length he was seat- 
ed astride upon the w^orld. It was a famous 
toy, and by a dexterous trick Napoleon ap- 

204 RECOLLECTIONS OF [cH. xvii. 

peared on the contrary side tumbling down 
head over heels, and after a perilous de- 
scent, alighting on St. Helena. I ought 
not to have shewn him this burlesque on 
his misfortunes, but at that time I was 
guilty of every description of mad action, 
though without any intention of being un- 
kind ; still I fear they were often deeply felt. 
My father, of whom I always stood in awe, 
heard of my rudeness, and desired me to 
consider myself under arrest for at least a 
w^eek, and I was transferred from the 
drawing-room to a dark cellar, and there 
left to solitude and repentance. I did 
not soon forget that punishment, for the 
excavation swarmed with rats, that leaped 
about me on all sides. I was half dead 
witli horror, and should most certainly 
have been devoured alive by the vermin, 
had I not in despair seized a bottle of 
wine, and dashed it amongst my assailants; 
finding that I succeeded in occasioning a 
momentary panic, I continued to diminish 


the pile of claret near me, and kept my 
enemies at bay. As the first faint light of 
morning dawned through my prison bars, I 
was startled to perceive what my victory 
would cost my father, for I was surrounded 
by heaps of broken bottles, and rivulets of 
wine, and either from exhaustion, or the 
exhalation from the saturated ground of 
the cellar, I was found by the slave who 
brought me my breakfast in the morning, 
in a state of stupor from which I was with 
difficulty aroused. My father was too happy 
at my escape to blame me for the means I 
resorted to to preserve myself from my 
hungry foes ; and I was forgiven my ill- 
judged pleasantry to the emperor. The 
latter expressed regret at my severe punish- 
ment for so trifling an offence, but was 
much amused by my relation of the battle 
with the rats ; he said, he had been startled 
by observing a huge one jumping out of his 
hat, as he was in the act of putting it on. 
On a subsequent occasion, I was confined 

206 RECOLLECTIONS OF [cH. xvil. 

during the day in the same prison that had 
been the scene of my nocturnal encounter. 
Having excited my father's ire for some 
mischievous trick, and for which, in spite 
of Napoleon's remonstrances, I was to be 
condemned to a week's imprisonment, I 
was taken to my cell every morning, and 
released at night only to go to bed. The 
emperor's great amusement during that 
time was to converse with me through my 
grated window, and he generally succeeded 
in making me laugh, by mimicking my do- 
lorous countenance. He was much surprised 
and amused to find me, on the third day of 
my imprisonment, busily employed making 
myself a dress; and was more astonished 
still when I told him it was a voluntary 
act ; that I had, in a fit of desperation at 
the dullness of my sejour in the cellar, 
begged my old black nurse, Sarah, to give 
me some work. I regret that my fit of 
industry did not survive the term of my 


The emperor advised my mother to keep 
the dress I had made during my imprison- 
ment, and occasionally exhibit it to me, 
when I was contemplating any rash act 
which might bring down a renewal of my 
late punishment. He always denominated 
it the prison livery. 

208 RECOLLECTIONS OF [cH. xvill. 


Who goes there ? — stranger, — quickly tell. 

A friend ! The word ? Good nif'ht ! All's well. 




Napoleon was a tolerable mimic : one day 
he asked my sister if she had ever heard 
the London cries ; on her replying she had, 
he began imitating them, very much to our 
diversion. He did it well in all, save the 
pronunciation of the English, which sound- 
ed very droll. My sister said she was sure 
he must have visited England incog, to have 
acquired them so perfectly. He said he 
had been much entertained by one of his 
buffo actors introducing the cries of London, 
in some comedy which was got up in Paris. 



Napoleon was a great admirer of Talma ; he 
said he was the truest actor to nature that 
ever trod the boards. He was on very in- 
timate and familiar footing with him. I 
told him I had heard he took lessons from 
Talma how he was to sit on his throne. 
He said he had been often asked if such 
had been the case, and that he one day 
mentioned the report to the great actor, at 
the same time remarking to him, " C'est 
un signe que je m'y tiens bien." He often 
spoke of Mademoiselle Georges, whom he 
represented as being very talented, and 
transcendently beautiful. 

One morning, after having been to a ball, 
and being consequently very tired, I tried in 
vain, during one of my Longwood prome- 
nades, to find where the emperorhadhid him- 
self I was told he was superintending a ditch 
which was forming for him, that he might 
have a walk free from molestation. Thither 
I bent my steps, and discovered Napoleon 
contemplating the work, with arms folded. 


and downcast gaze. He said he intended 
having a private walk, where he could not 
be overlooked, and for that purpose had di- 
rected the ditch to be constructed. It was so 
laughable an idea, that we could not help 
smiling at a man's having a ditch to pvome- 
nade in, but so it was ; the work was com- 
pleted soon after, and he had an unobserv- 
ed walk, which, when made, we were told 
he never used. I think my memory in this 
instance has not failed me. 

After the earthquake ; from sitting on 
the steps of the verandah, I caught a violent 
cold, and was sneezing and coughing all 
the morning. Napoleon said the climate 
w^as so bad it was not to be wondered at, 
and that we ought to have fireplaces made 
at the Briars, to keep out the cold in the 
wintry season. I told him it would be 
useless, as there were no coals on our island. 
He said we had better then burn some of 
the oranofe trees. He was in a bad humour 
that morning, or he would never have af- 


fronted us so much by bidding us destroy 
our garden, and grub up our beautiful orange 
trees to burn. 

I remember one of Napoleon's favourite 
contemplations was the history of great 
men who had figured in bygone days. He 
told me an anecdote of Cardinal Richelieu, 
which impressed us much at the time it 
was repeated to us. It was during the 
days of his (I may call it) sovereignty, that 
a nobleman, who waited upon him about 
affairs of importance, was ushered into his 
private cabinet. Whilst they were con- 
versing together, a great personage was 
announced, and entered the room; after 
some conversation with the cardinal, the 
great man took his leave, and Richelieu, 
in compliment to him, attended him to his 
carriage, forgetting that he had left the 
other alone in the cabinet. On his return 
to his room he rang a bell, one of his 
confidential secretaries entered, to whom 
he whispered something. He then con- 


versed with the other very freely, appeared 
to take an interest in his affairs, kept him 
in conversation for a short time, accom- 
panied him to the door, shook hands with 
him, and took leave of him in the most 
friendly way, telling him he might make 
his mind easy, as he had determined to 
provide for him. The poor man departed 
highly satisfied, and full of thanks and gra- 
titude. As he was going out of the door, 
he was arrested, not allowed to speak to 
any one, and conveyed in a coach to the 
Bastile, where he was kept au secret for 
ten years ; at the expiration of which time 
the cardinal sent for him, and expressed his 
great regret at having been obliged to adopt 
the step he had taken ; that he had no 
cause of complaint against him; on the 
contrary, he believed him to be a good 
subject to his majesty ; but the fact was, 
he had left a paper on his table when he 
quitted the room, containing state accounts 
of vast importance, which he was afraid he 


might have perused in his absence ; that 
the safety of the kingdom demanded they 
should not be divulged, and obliged him to 
adopt measures to prevent the possibility 
of the contents being known ; that as soon 
as the safety of the country permitted, he 
had released him ; was sorry, and begged 
his pardon for the uneasiness he had caused 
him, and would be happy to make him 
some amends. 

The Commissary General of St. Helena 
was a great favourite with every one who 
had the pleasure of being acquainted with 
him. He was most amusing, and very 
clever. He established a theatre on the 
island, and the amateur plays performed by 
him, assisted by the officers of the 53rd 
and 66th regiments stationed there, ren- 
dered the little island a scene of gaiety 
and continued merriment ; what with the 
races, balls, plays, and pic-nics, sham fights 
by sea and land, &c., there was scarcely a 
day undiversified by some amusement or 


other. On one memorable occasion, Mr. 
T. invited a large party to pic-nic at his 
house; nearly all the inhabitants St. Helena 
contained (who delighted in those pleasur- 
able amusements) were there. The house 
was situated near the celebrated "Friar's 
Valley," at a great distance from any of 
the dwellings of the people bidden to the 
fete, and the roads leading thereto must be 
seen to be conceived. No language, how- 
ever romantic in its flight, could impress 
the reader with the varied dangers and diffi- 
culties with wdiich they abounded, and the 
temptation must indeed have been great to 
induce a timid horsewoman to encounter 
them. The ride there, I recollect, was com- 
paratively easy; the party was so delightful, 
and the weather so charming, that time 
was beguiled, and the hours unnumbered 
stole on, till the faint echo of the Ladder Hill 
gun stole on our startled senses ; for it told 
the guests there assembled, that the ninth 
hour had struck, and without the counter- 


sign none must venture forth, unless they 
made up their minds to be taken prisoners, 
and confined for the night in the first guard 
house they came near. A consultation was 
held, and the most daring of the party de- 
clared the risk of returning home must be 
run ; amongst the boldest of these was my 
father; and, being under his command, my 
mother and sister, with myself, and a large 
proportion of the guests, mounted their 
horses and set forward. The night was star- 
light, but the road so bad and unfrequent- 
ed, that though for a long while the sen- 
tries placed about the heights were eluded, 
our way was lost. I shall never forget the 
scrambling and tumbling about, the horses' 
feet tripping under them every moment, over 
loose stones. At length, my father hailed 
a light, which appeared at a short distance 
before us — a most unlucky circumstance. 
He was answered by a sentry presenting his 
musket, and demanding"Who goes there?" 
" A friend," says my father. " Advance, 


friend, and give the countersign." But no 
countersign had we, and to the alarm- 
house we were all marched, (a guard-room 
placed between Long wood and the Briars.) 
We passed a wretched night in the little 
hole, eaten up by fleas, musquitoes, and all 
sorts of horrible things ; but the most dis- 
agreeable was, the quizzing we were obliged 
to endure from our acquaintance, who had 
been wise enough to stay at Cruise Plain, 
instead of being so foolhardy as to venture 
forth. Napoleon was highly diverted, and 
rather pleased with the opportunity it gave 
him for abusing the strict watch which 
was set to prevent the possibility of his 



Had tlie sword laid thee with the mighty low, 
Pride might forbid e'en friendship to complain ; 
But thus unlaurell'd to descend in vain, 
AVhile glory crowns so many a meaner crest ! 






The thoughtlessness of youth, or the con- 
sciousness of being a privileged person, 
prompted me more than once, whilst con- 
versing with Napoleon, to touch upon ten- 
der, if not actually forbidden ground, and 
to question him about some of the many 
cruel acts assigned to him ; entr autres, the 
butchery of the Turkish prisoners at Jaffa, 
and the poisoning the sick in hospital at the 
game place, came one day on the tapis. I 
remember well his own explanation of 



the latter report, which though " an old 
tale and often told," may not prove the 
less interesting on that account, when re- 
corded, as far as my memory serves me, in 
the emperor's own words. 

" Before leaving Jaffa," said Napoleon, 
" and when many of the sick had been 
embarked, I was informed that there were 
some in hospital wounded beyond recovery, 
dangerously ill, and unfit to be moved at 
any risk. I desired my medical men to 
hold a consultation as to what steps had 
best be taken with regard to the unfortu- 
nate sufferers, and to send in their opinions 
to me. The result of this consultation 
was, that seven-eighths of the soldiers 
were considered past recovery, and that 
in all probability few would be alive at 
the expiration of twenty hours. More- 
over, some were afflicted with the plague, 
and to carry those onward would threaten 
the whole army with infection, and spread 
death wherever they appeared, without 


amelioratinof their o^\^l sufferino-s or in- 
creasing their chance of recovery, which, 
indeed, in such cases, was hopeless. On 
the other hand, to leave them behind was 
abandoning them to the cruelty of the 
Turks, who always made it a rule to mur- 
der their prisoners with protracted tor- 
ture. In this emergency, I submitted to 
Desgenettes the propriety of ending the 
misery of these victims by a dose of opium. 
I would have desired such a relief for my- 
self under the same circumstances. I con- 
sidered it would be an act of mercy to an- 
ticipate their fate by only a few hours, en- 
suring them an end free from pain, and 
oblivious of the horrors which surrounded 
and threatened th-em, rather than a death 
of dreadful torture. My physician did not 
enter into my views of the case, and dis- 
approved of the proposal, saying, that his 
profession was to cure, not to kill. Ac- 
cordingly I left a rear-guard to protect 
these unhappy men from the advancing 

L 2 


enemy, and they remained till nature had 
paid her last debt and released the expir- 
ing soldiers from their agony." Such is the 
true, and now almost universally acknow- 
ledged version of this atrocious story. 
" Not that I think it would have been a 
crime," Napoleon observed, " had opium 
l:»een administered ; on the contrary, I 
think it would have been a virtue. To 
leave a few miserables, who could not 
recover, in order that they might be mas- 
sacred according to the custom of the 
Turks, with the most dreadful tortures, 
would I think have been cruelty ; nor 
would any man under similar circumstances, 
who had the free use of his senses, liave 
liesitated to prefer dying easily a few hours 
sooner, rather than expire under the tor- 
tures of those barbarians. I ask you, 
O'Meara, to place yourself in the situation 
of one of these men, and were it demanded 
of you which fate you would select, either 
to be left to suffer the tortures of those 


miscreants, or to have opium administered 
to you, which would you rather choose? 
If my own son, and I believe I love my 
son as well as any father does his child, 
were in a similar situation, I would ad- 
vise it to be done ; and if so situated my- 
self, I would insist upon it, if I had sense 
enough and strength to demand it. Do 
you think if I had been capable of secretly 
poisoning my soldiers, or of such barbari- 
ties, (as have been ascribed to me,) of driv- 
ing my carriage over the mutilated and 
bleeding bodies of the wounded, — that my 
troops would have fought under me with 
the enthusiasm and affection they uniformly 
displayed? No, no; I should have been shot 
long ago ; even my wounded would have 
tried to pull a trigger to despatch me." 

It is be regretted that the conscience of 
Napoleon did not prompt him to feel or 
say with Richard III., 

" E'en all mankind to some lov'd ills incline ; 
Great men choose greater things, ambition 's mine." 


There are many reasons why the worst fea- 
tures of this report were at first readily be- 
lieved. It was consistent with Napoleon's 
character to look at results rather than at 
the measures that were to produce them, 
and to consider in many cases the end as 
an excuse for the means ; besides, not 
three months before, he had given the 
world a fearful example of how bloody a 
deed he was capable, when he considered 
it necessary to the furtherance of his own 
plans. The execution of the Turkish pri- 
soners at Jaffa was equal in cruelty, though 
not in extent, to the fusillades of the revo- 
lution. Besides which, it was unjustifiable 
by the usages of war, the Turks having 
given up their arms and surrendered them- 
selves prisoners of war on condition of 
safety of life at least. It is true that this 
dreadful deed will always remain a deep 
stain upon Napoleon's character, but it 
would be uncharitable to view it as the in- 
dulgence of an innate love of cruelty, for 


nothing in Bonaparte's history shews the 
existence of such a vice. It was one of 
the numerous and sad results of boundless 
ambition, united to unlimited power. In 
aiming at gigantic undertakings, he forgot 
to calculate the waste of human life which 
the execution of his projects necessarily 

There was a lady, the wife of an officer 
in the 66th regiment, a Mrs. Baird, who 
sang and played very well ; among her fa- 
vourite songs was a monody upon the Duke 
d'Enghien. I learned this, and sang it to 
Napoleon one day at Madame Bertrand's. 
He was pleased with the air, and asked 
me what it was. I shewed it to him: 
there was a vignette on the cover of the 
music, representing a man standing in a 
ditch, with a bandage round his eyes and a 
lantern tied to his waist ; in front of him 
several soldiers, with their muskets level- 
led in the act of firing. He asked what 
it meant. I told him it was intended to 


represent the murder of the Duke d'Eng- 
hien. He looked at the print with great in- 
terest, and asked me what I knew about it. 
I told him he was considered the murderer 
of that illustrious prince. He said, in re- 
ply, it was true, he had ordered his execu- 
tion, for he was a conspirator, and had 
landed troops in the pay of the Bourbons 
to assassinate him ; and he thought from 
such a conspiracy, he could not act in a 
more politic manner than by causing one 
of their own princes to be put to death, 
in order the more effectually to deter them 
from attempting his life again ; that the 
prisoner was tried for having borne arms 
against the republic, and was executed ac- 
cording to the existing laws ; but not, as 
here represented, in a ditch, and at night. 
There was nothing secret in the transac- 
tion ; all was public and open. 

I told him I had heard that he wore 
armour under his dress, to render him in- 
vulnerable, as he was continually in dread 


of assassination, and that he never slept two 
nights together in the same bed-room. He 
told us all these things were fabrications; 
but that he ever adopted one nde — never 
to make public his intention whither he 
meant to go, five minutes before he ac- 
tually took his departure, and he doubted 
not many conspirators were thus foiled, as 
they were ignorant where he "vvas at any 
time to be found. 

There was a sculptor named Caracchi, 
a Corsican, who had once made a statue 
of him, and who at one time had been 
strongly attached to Napoleon ; but hav- 
ing become a fanatical republican, deter- 
mined to kill him. For that purpose he 
went to Paris, and begged to be allowed 
to model another statue for him, saying, 
the first was not as well done as he could 
have desired. Napoleon, little thinking 
this man meant to assassinate him, only 
refused his consent because he did not like 
the trouble of sitting in the same posture 

L 3 


for some days. This saved his life, as it 
was Caracchi's intention to have poniarded 
him whilst sitting. 

Another time, a letter was sent to in- 
form the emperor that a certain person 
was to leave at a stated time for Paris, 
where he would arrive on a day indicated 
in the letter, his intentions being to mm*- 
der him. The police took measures, and 
watched him ; he arrived on the day noted, 
and was seen to enter a chapel whither 
Napoleon had gone, in celebration of some 
festival. He was arrested, and expressed 
his intentions, and said, when the people 
knelt down on the elevation of the host, 
he observed the emperor gazing on a 
beautiful woman. At first, he intended 
to advance and fire ; but, upon reflec- 
tion, thought it would make it surer to 
stab him when coming out of chapel. " I 
forofave the wretch, for I never liked to 
execute, if I could save life, and merely or- 
dered him to be put in confinement. After 


leaving France for Elba, I heard he had 
been ill treated by the other party at the 
head of affairs, and had escaped. On my 
return to Paris from Elba, retiring one 
night to my chamber, the same man some- 
how or other obtained entrance ; by some 
accident he fell, and the fall caused some- 
thing in his pocket, which was intended 
to despatch me, to explode, wounded him 
so severely instead, that he nearly died. I 
heard afterwards, that he had thrown him- 
self into the Seine, and was drowned." 



Farewell ! a word that must be, and hath been — 
A sound which makes us linger ; yet — farewell ! 



In consequence of my mother's health de- 
clining, fi'om the enfeebling effects of the 
too warm climate of St. Helena, she was 
ordered by her medical adviser to try a 
voyage to England, as the only means of 
restoring her shattered constitution. The 
Winchelsea store-ship having arrived from 
China, my father took our passage on 
board, obtaining first, from Sir Hudson 
LoM'e, six months' leave of absence from 
his duties as purveyor to Napoleon and his 
suite, &c. 

A day or two before we embarked, my 


father, my sister, and myself rode to Long- 
wood, to bid adieu to the emperor. He 
was in his billiard room, surromided by 
books, which had arrived a few days before. 
He seemed much depressed at our leaving 
the island, and said he sincerely regretted 
the cause ; he hoped my dear mother's 
health would soon be restored, and sent 
many affectionate messages to her, she 
being too ill to accompany us to Longwood. 
When we had sat with him some time, 
he walts:ed with us in his garden, and 
with a sickly smile pointed to the ocean 
spread out before us, bounding the view, 
and said, " Soon you will be sailing away 
towards England, leaving me to die on 
this miserable rock. Look at those dread- 
ful mountains — they are my prison walls. 
You will soon hear that the Emperor Na- 
poleon is dead." I burst into tears, and 
sobbed, as though my heart would break. 
He seemed much moved at the sorrow 
manifested by us. I had left my handker- 


chief in the pocket of my side-saddle, and 
seeing the tears run fast down my cheeks, 
Napoleon took his own from his pocket 
and wiped them away, telling me to keep 
the handkerchief in remembrance of that 
sad day. 

We afterwards returned and dined with 
him. My heart was too full of grief to 
swallow; and when pressed by Napoleon to 
eat some of my favourite bon-bons and 
creams, I told him my throat had a great 
swelling in it, and I could take nothing. 

The hour of bidding adieu came at last. 
He affectionately embraced my sister and 
myself, and bade us not forget him ; adding 
that he should ever remember our fi'iend- 
ship and kindness to him, and thanked us 
again and again for all the happy hours he 
had passed in our society. He asked me 
what I should like to have in remembrance 
of him. T replied, I should value a lock of 
his hair more than any other gift he could 
present. He then sent for Monsieur Mar- 


chand, and desired him to bring in a pair 
of scissors and cut off four locks of hair 
for my father and mother, my sister, and 
myself, which he did. I still possess that 
lock of hair ; it is all left me of the many 
tokens of remembrance of the Great Em- 



My task is done — 
Would it were Avorthier ! 


In concluding my brief record of Napoleon, 
I will spare my readers any lengthened 
expression of my own opinion of his cha- 
racter. I have placed before them the 
greater part of what occurred while I was 
in his society, and have thus given them, 
as far as I am able, the same means of 
judging of him as I myself possess. But 
yet, in a personal intercourse, incidents 
occur, of too trivial or subtle a nature to 
be communicated to others, but which are 
still the truest indications of character, 
from being the result of impulse, and un- 


premeditated. Even a look, a tone of tlie 
voice, a gesture, in an unreserved moment, 
will give an insight into the real disposi- 
tion, which years of a more formal inter- 
course would fail to convey; and this is 
particularly the case in the association of a 
person of mature age with very young 
people. There is generally a confiding 
candour and openness about them which 
invites confidence in return, and which 
tempts a man of the world to throw off 
the iron mask of reserve and caution, and 
to assume once more the simplicity of a 
little child. This, at least, took place in 
my intercourse with Napoleon, and I may 
therefore perhaps venture to say a few 
words on the general impression he left on 
my mind after three months' daily com- 
munication with him. 

The point of character which has, more 
than any other, been a subject of dispute 
between Napoleon's friends and his ene- 
mies, and which will ever be the most im- 


portant of all, in the estimation of a woman, 
is, whether he furnished another proof of 
the " close affinity between superlative in- 
tellect and the warmth of the generous 
affections," (to use the words of the Rev. 
— Crabbe, in his delightful Life of his 
Father,) or whether he must be considered 
only as a consummate calculating machine, 
the reasoning power perfect, but the heart 
altogether absent. Bourrienne, who, al- 
though conscientious and exact in the 
main, exhibits no partiality to the emperor, 
describes him as " tres peu aimant," and re- 
ports that he once said, " I have no friend 
except Duroc, who is unfeeling and cold, 
and suits me ;" and this may have been 
true in his intercourse with the world, and 
with men whom he was accustomed to 
coEsider as mere machines, the instru- 
ments of his glory and ambition, and whom 
he therefore valued in proportion to the 
sternness of the stuff of which they were 
composed. Even his brothers, whom he is 


said to have included in this sweeping ab- 
negation of friendship, he taught himself 
to look upon as the means of carrying out 
his ambitious projects; and as they were 
not always subservient to his will, but 
came at times into political collision with 
him, his fraternal affection, which seldom 
resisted the rude shocks of contending 
worldly interests, was cooled and weakened 
in the struggle. But my own conviction 
is, that unless Napoleon's ambition, to 
which every other consideration was sacri- 
ficed, interfered, he was possessed of much 
sensibility and feeling, and was capable of 
strong attachment. 

The Duchess d'Abrantes, who was inti- 
mately acquainted with Napoleon at an 
early age, gives him credit for much more 
warmth of heart than is allowed to him by 
the world; and brought up, as she had 
been, ^vith himself and his family, she was 
well qualified to form an opinion of him. 
I think his love of children, and the de- 


light he felt in their society, — and that, 
too, at the most calamitous period of his 
life, when a cold and unattachable nature 
would have been abandoned to the indul- 
gence of selfish misery, — in itself, speaks 
volumes for his goodness of heart. After 
hours of laborious occupation, he would 
often permit us to join him, and that 
which would have fatigued and exhausted 
the spirits of others, seemed only to recruit 
and renovate him. His gaiety was often 
exuberant at these moments; he entered 
into all the feelings of young people, and 
when with them was a mere child, and, I 
may add, a most amusing one. 

I feel, however, even painfully, the diffi- 
culty of conveying to my readers my own 
impression of the disposition of Napoleon. 
Matters of feeling are often incapable of 
demonstration. The innumerable acts of 
amiability and kindness which he lavished 
on all around him at my father's house, 
derived, perhaps, their chief charm from 


the way in which they were done; they 
would not bear being told. Apart from 
the sweetness of his smile and manner, 
their effect would have been comparatively 
nothing. But young people are generally 
keen observers of character. Their per- 
ceptive faculties are ever on the alert, and 
their powers of observation not the less 
acute, perhaps, because their reason lies 
dormant, and there is nothing to interrupt 
the exercise of their perceptions. And af- 
ter seeing Napoleon in every possible mood, 
and in his most unguarded moments, when 
r am sure, from his manner, that the idea 
of acting a part never entered his head, I 
left him, impressed with the most com- 
plete conviction of his want of guile, and 
the thorough amiability and goodness of 
his heart. That this feeling was common 
to almost every one who approached him, 
the resj3ect and devotion of his followers 
at St. Helena is a sufficient proof. They 
had then nothing more to expect from him, 


and only entailed misery on themselves by 
adhering to his fortunes. 

Shortly after he left the Briars for Long- 
wood, I was witness to an instance of the 
reverence with which he was regarded 
by those around him. A lady of high 
distinction at St. Helena, whose husband 
filled one of the diplomatic oflSces there, 
rode up one morning to the Briars. I 
happened to be on the lawn, and she re- 
quested me to show her the part of the 
cottage occupied by the emperor. I con- 
ducted her to the pavilion, which she sur- 
veyed with intense interest ; but when I 
pointed out to her the crown which had 
been cut from the turf by his faithful ad- 
herents, she lost all control over her feel- 
ings. Bursting into a fit of passionate 
weeping, she sank on her knees upon the 
gi'ound, sobbing hysterically. At last she 
fell forward, and I became quite alarmed, 
and would have run to the cottage to tell 
my mother and procure some restoratives. 


but, Starting up, she implored me, in a 
voice broken by emotion, to call no one, 
for that she should soon be herself again. 
She entreated me not to mention to any 
one what had occurred, and proceeded to 
say that the memory of Napoleon was 
treasured in the hearts of the French peo- 
ple as it was in hers, and that they would 
all wilhngly die for him. She was herself 
a Frenchwoman, and very beautiful. She 
recovered herself after some time, and put 
a thousand questions to me about Napo- 
leon, the answers to which seemed to in- 
terest her exceedingly. She said several 
times, " How happy it must have made 
you to be with the emperor !" After a long 
interview, she put a thick veil down over 
her still agitated features, and returning 
to her horse, mounted and rode away. 
For once, I kept a secret, and, though ques- 
tioned on the subject, I merely said she 
had come to see the pavilion, without be- 
traying what had taken place. 


Napoleon, on his first arrival, showed an 
inclination to mix in what little society St. 
Helena afforded, and would, I think, have 
continued to do so, but for the unhappy 
differences with Sir Hudson Lowe. These 
at length grew to such a height, that the 
emperor seemed to consider it almost a 
point of honour to shut himself up, and 
make himself as miserable as possible, in 
order to excite indignation against the go- 
vernor. Into the merits of these quarrels, 
it is not my intention to enter. With all my 
feeling of partiality for the emperor, I have 
often doubted whether anv human beinof 
could have filled the situation of Sir Hudson 
Lowe, without becoming embroiled with his 
unhappy captive. The very title by which 
he was accosted, and the manner of address- 
ing him, when contrasted with the devotion 
of those around him. must have seemed 
almost insulting; and the emperor was most 
brusque and uncompromising in showing 
his dislike to any one who did not please 


him; the necessary restrictions on his per- 
sonal liberty would always have been a 
fruitful source of discord ; and even had 
Napoleon himself been inclined to submit 
to his fate with equanimity, it is doubtful 
whether his followers would have permitted 
him to do so. Accustomed as they had been 
to the gaiety and brilliancy of the French 
cajiital, their " sejour," to use their own 
words, on that lone island, could not fail 
to be "afFreux"; and as they were gene- 
rally the medium of communication be- 
tween Napoleon and the authorities, the 
correspondence would necessarily be tinged 
with more or less of the bitterness of their 
respective feelings. Their very devotion to 
the emperor would make them too tena- 
cious and exacting with regard to the de- 
ference to which his situation entitled him; 
and thus orders and regulations, which only 
seemed to the authorities indispensable to 
his security, became a crime in their eyes, 
and were represented to the emj^eror as 



gratuitous and cruel insults. Napoleon, too, 
in the absence of every thing more worthy 
of supplying food to his mighty intellect, 
did not disdain to interest himself in the 
merest trifles. My father has often described 
him as appearing as much absorbed and oc- 
cupied in the details of some petty squabble 
with the governor as if the fate of empires 
had been under discussion. He has often 
made us laugh with his account of the ridi- 
culous way in which Napoleon spoke of Sir 
Hudson Lowe ; but their disputes were ge- 
nerally on subjects so trivial, that I deem 
it my duty to draw a veil over these last 
infirmities of so noble a mind. 

One circumstance, however, I may relate: 
Napoleon, wishing to learn English, pro- 
cured some English books ; amongst them 
" ^sop's Fables," were sent him. In one 
of the fables the sick lion, after submitting 
with fortitude to the insults of the many 
animals who came to exult over his fallen 
greatness, at last received a kick in the 


face from the ass. " I could have borne 
every thing but this," the hon said. Na- 
poleon showed the wood-cut, and added, 
" It is me and your governor." 

Amongst other accusations against Na- 
poleon, some writers have said that he was 
deficient in courage. He always gave me 
the idea, on the contrary, of being constitu- 
tionally fearless. I have already mentioi^d 
his feats of horsemanship, and the speed 
with which his carriage generally tore along 
the narrow mountainous roads of St. He- 
lena would have been intolerable to a timid 
person. I have more than once seen gen- 
tlemen, whose horses were rather skittish, 
when the emperor approached them at a 
rapid pace, compelled to turn and gallop 
rapidly for some distance before him, to 
their gTeat annoyance, until they reached 
an open space where they could pass his 
carriage without danger of their horses shy- 
ing and going down a precipice. He had 
a description of jaunting-car, to which he 

M 2 


yoked three Cape horses abreast, in the 
French style, and if he got any one into 
this, he seldom let his victim out until he 
had frightened him heartily. One day he 
told General Gourgaud to make his horse 
rear and put his fore feet into the carriage, 
to my great terror. He seemed, indeed, to 
possess no nerves himself, and to laugh at 
th^ existence of fear in others. 

Napoleon, as far as I was capable of 
judging, could not be considered fond of 
literature. He seldom introduced the topic 
in conversation, and I suspect his reading was 
confined almost solely to scientific subjects. 
I have heard him speak slightingly of poets, 
and call them reveurs, and still I believe the 
most visionary of them all, was the only 
one he ever perused. But his own vast 
and undefined schemes of ambition, seemed 
to have found something congenial in the 
dreamy sublimities of Ossian. 



Abergavenny, Earl of 
Amherst, Earl of 
Ashburnham, Hon. P, 
Asliburnham, Hon. Mrs. 
Andrews, Mrs. 
Allan, Gi'ant, Esq. 
Appleton, Miss 
Appleyard, Charles, Esq. 
Astlett, Colonel, R.M. 

Ball, Sir William 
Beatly, Colonel, R.M. 
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Buller, Chas., Esq., M.P. 
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